Large flotation cells in copper processing: Experiences and considerations
Mining Engineering, 2014, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp. 24-24
Govender, D.; Meadows, D.; Lelinski, D.; Traczyk, F.
In recent years, economies of scale have continued to drive copper projects to larger throughputs to offset depleting lower grade resources. A decade ago, there were only a small number of projects that stretched beyond 100 kt/d (110,000 stpd) throughput rates. Today, and moving forward, virtually all the major copper projects are sized beyond this, with throughput rates up to 250 kt/d (275,000 stpd) now under evaluation for a number of key projects in Chile and Peru. This paper explores the development from the 160 m3 (5,650 cu ft) flotation cells, through to the 257 m3 (9,076 cu ft) cells and to the current 660 m3 (23,380 cu ft) machines. The contributions of specific copper concentrators to this growth phase are reviewed in this article. The historical basis of flotation machine scale-up is also briefly discussed. Metallurgical results as well as layout, maintenance and operational aspects are highlighted.
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