The systems engineering of automated fire assay laboratories for the analysis of the precious metals

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dc.contributor.advisor Eksteen, J. J.
dc.contributor.advisor Lorenzen, L.
dc.contributor.advisor Koch, K. R.
dc.contributor.author McIntosh, Keith Shearer
dc.contributor.other University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Engineering. Dept. of Process Engineering.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-11T09:01:42Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-11T09:01:42Z
dc.date.issued 2004-12
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/16062
dc.description Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The objective of this work was to achieve a completely automated fire assay system for the analysis of process control samples on a flotation plant in less than 120 minutes. With this in mind, a systems engineering approach was undertaken. The physical and chemical characteristics of the technology for each subsystem were investigated in turn and the critical factors that influenced accuracy, precision and analysis time were identified and optimised. Some of the key developments achieved during this work were: · Existing technology for the sampling, filtering, drying and grinding of flotation plant samples were evaluated and where necessary, modified for this application. · The fusion system was totally re-designed with a bottom-loading configuration called FIFA (Fast In-line Fire Assay) to make automation with a central robot possible. With the fast fusing flux developed, a quantitative collection of the platinum group elements with a fifteen-minute fusion was achieved compared to an hour for the classical method. · A robust automated separator system was developed to isolate the lead collector from the fusion in the molten state thereby separating it quantitatively from the slag. This allowed the automation of the entire fire assay process. · Methods to prepare lead standards for calibration were developed. These were used to optimise analytical protocols for the analysis of platinum group elements in lead using a spark optical emission spectrometer. This made it possible to accurately determine the quantities of platinum group elements in lead samples prepared by the automated fire assay system. · A fully automated system was developed that could meet the accuracy and precision requirements for the analysis of tailings and feed grade samples in concentrator slurry streams in less than one hour compared with the 24-72 hours required when using classical methods. The new fire assay technology including flux, FIFA system, oxygen lance and separator were all patented along with the automation vendor. This technology has made the first fully automated fire assay system a reality. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoofoogmerk van die studie was om ‘n totale geoutomatiseerde vuuressaieering stelsel te ontwerp vir die ontleding van prosesbeheermonsters van ‘n flotasieaanleg in ‘n bestek van 120 minute. Gedurende die ontwerp is ‘n ingeneursstelselbenadering gebruik. Die fisiese en chemiese kenmerke van elke deel van die tegnologie is eers afsonderlik en dan as ‘n geheel ondersoek. Die bepalende faktore wat akkuraatheid, presisie en ontledingstyd beinvloed het was geidentifiseer en geoptimeer. Die hoofpunte van die werk behels onder andere die volgende: · Bestaande tegnologie vir monsterneming, filtrasie, droging en vermaling van flotasiemonsters was ondersoek en is, waar nodig, aangepas vir die finale stelsel. · Die smeltingsisteem was in geheel herontwerp om monsters van onder in die FIFA (Fast In-line Fire Assay) sisteem te laai en sodoende die outomatisering met ‘n sentrale robot te vergemaklik. ‘n Vinnig smeltende vloeimiddel was ontwikkel wat ‘n kwantitatiewe versameling van die platinum groep elemente binne ‘n tydsduur van vyftien minute moontlik gemaak het, in vergelyke met die oorspronklike duur van die klassieke smelt metode van een uur. · ‘n Outomatiese skeier was ontwikkel waarmee die gesmelte loodversamelaar geskei kon word van die slakfase. Met die nuwe stelsel kon die hele vuuressaieerproses outomaties verloop. · Metodes is ontwikkel om loodstandaarde vir kalibrasie doeleindes te berei. Die standaarde is op hulle beurt weer gebruik om ‘n ontleding protokol daar te stel vir die analiese van die platinum groep elemente in lood, met behulp van ‘n vonkontlading-optiese-uitstraling-spektrometriese instrument. Ten einde was dit moontlik om outomaties klein hoeveelhede van die platinum groep elemente in monsters akkuraat te bepaal, na voorbereiding met behulp van die geoutomatiseerde vuuressaieering stelsel. · Die volle geoutimatiseerde stelsel was ontwikkel wat aan die akkurate en noukeurige vereistes voldoen het vir die ontleding van flotasie-uitskot-envoergraad monsters van die konsentraataanleg binne die bestek van ‘n uur. Die nuwe vuuressaieer tegnologie, insluitend die vinnig smeltende vloeimiddel, FIFA en skeier stelsels, asook die suurstof lanset is gepatenteer met die vervaardiger. Die studie het gelei tot die eerste volle geoutomatiseerde vuuressaieering stelsel wat tans gebruik word in die industrie. af
dc.format.extent xxv, 269 leaves : ill.
dc.language.iso en_ZA en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
dc.subject Assaying en_ZA
dc.subject Precious metals -- Assaying en_ZA
dc.subject Theses -- Metallurgical engineering en_ZA
dc.subject Dissertations -- Metallurgical engineering en_ZA
dc.title The systems engineering of automated fire assay laboratories for the analysis of the precious metals en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.rights.holder University of Stellenbosch


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