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COARSE PARTICLE FLOTATION APPLIED TO COPPER SULPHIDE ORES

During the last few years, innovation in mining industry has become more and more important as it is necessary to develop economically attractive projects. A new flotation type is gaining more importance; we refer to Coarse Particle Flotation (CPF), above 150 µm and up to 850 µm. We estimate that for brownfield projects this type of flotation may allow to increase plant capacity up to 25%, just by implementing the CPF system, and without needing additional mills. For greenfield projects, we estimate that this type of technology may help reduce the operating costs of the entire project by more than 10%, and would also contribute to optimizing water recovery and tailings disposal, since a portion of these would be disposed of in dry coarse fractions. 

However, it is well known that, for sulphide ores, the best recoveries are usually obtained when conventional flotation cells process particle sizes ranging between 30 µm and 150 µm. In industrial operations, particles falling outside this range are generally reported in tailings due to the inherent constraints related to physical interactions occurring in the pulp and foam phases of conventional flotation equipment. To overcome these limitations, a new type of flotation cell has recently been developed, which works under the fluidized bed principle. With this new type, recoveries of up to 93% Cu and 89% Mo were possible when minerals ranging between 600 µm x 150 µm were floated.

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