A modelling framework to determine the value proposition of microwave treatment of mineral ores

Charikinya, Edson (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Process Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The extraction of mineral values from ore requires liberation of the minerals followed by separation. Liberation is achieved by size reduction operations which are inefficient processes typically accounting for up to 70% of the energy consumption in a mineral concentrator (Tromans, 2008). As the grade of ores reserves declines, future viability of mineral operations will be determined by the costs of comminution. Recent work has shown that microwave treatment of secondary crusher product at specific microwave energy consumption of the order of 1 kWh/t reduces the work index of the ore and increases grade and recovery in batch flotation tests. Improved liberation at coarse sizes was also demonstrated (Kingman, 2006). Based on these findings work is ongoing to commercialise the technology. The objective of this study is to develop a modelling framework to determine the value proposition of microwave treatment of ore. It was noted that various models exist in literature for modelling of mineral processing flotation flow sheets, but these models do not incorporate the feed ore liberation property as an input variable in their calculations. Thus, a fundamentally derived property based model was identified as appropriate for flow sheet modelling of microwave treated ore, as it utilised liberation as an indirect variable in calculating the flotation rate constant through the use of contact angle to describe particle surface hydrophobicity. The model was successfully incorporated into the flotation flow sheet units developed in HSC Chemistry and used with Mineral Liberation Analyser (MLA) data to investigate the effects of changes in feed ore liberation on rougher cell flotation recovery. Different liberation scenarios based around modification of porphyry copper flotation feed were created. A sensitivity analysis of the various feed stream liberation scenarios was carried out to test the ability of the model to effectively model the differences in downstream processing of microwave treated and untreated ores. For a single flotation cell of size 85 m3 with a solids feed flow rate of 890 tph, it was observed that below a certain size (120 μm in the case of the porphyry copper ore) changes in flotation feed liberation had no significant effect on value mineral recovery. Significant differences in value mineral recovery were observed only at coarser sizes above 120 μm. The results indicated that improvement in recovery of value minerals due to improved liberation from applying microwave technology has size limits and is significantly dependent on the feed grind size. Feed grind size sensitivity analysis was then carried on the same single cell flow sheet utilising feeds with the same mineralogy but with different grind sizes. The results indicated that maximum benefits from the application of microwave technology would be best obtained by utilising coarse grinding at sizes between P70 = 200 μm and P70 = 300 μm for the porphyry copper ores considered in this study. Coarse grinding appears to be the best way to exploit improved liberation in downstream processing of microwave treated ores. Investigations similar to those carried out on the single cell flotation flow sheet were then carried out on a continuous plant rougher flotation flow sheet. The flow sheet consisted of nine rougher cells in series each with a volume of 85 m3 with a solids feed flow rate of 890 tph into the bank of rougher cells. The results indicated that there was no significant difference in final rougher bank overall cumulative recovery at fine grind sizes below a P70 grind size of 120 μm with improvements in feed ore liberation. Feed grind size sensitivity analysis showed a significant variation in cumulative recovery at coarse grind sizes of above P70 = 129 μm .This variation was attributed to improvements in flotation feed ore value mineral liberation from locked composite particles to the maximum possible theoretical liberation scenario of fully liberated value mineral particles. A 7.2 percentage point improvement in cumulative value mineral overall recovery and a 2 to 3 percentage point improvement in enrichment ratio was also observed above the P70 = 250 μm grind sizes after improving the flotation feed ore value mineral particle liberation of a typical flotation plant feed to a maximum. The increases in grade and cumulative recovery at coarse sizes were attributed to improvements to the flotation plant feed ore value mineral particle liberation. From the results, it was concluded that microwave technology application will offer greater benefits in downstream processing of coarse ground ores.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die ekstraksie van mineraalwaardes uit erts vereis bevryding van die minerale gevolg deur skeiding. Bevryding word bereik deur verkleiningsprosedures wat ondoeltreffende prosesse is en wat gewoonlik vir tot 70% van die energieverbruik in ʼn mineraalkonsentreerder verantwoordelik is (Tromans, 2008). Algaande die graad van ertsreserwes afneem, sal toekomstige lewensvatbaarheid van mineraalprosesse bepaal word deur die koste van vergruising. Onlangse werk het getoon dat mikrogolfbehandeling van sekondêre vergruiserproduk by spesifieke mikrogolf-energieverbruik van ongeveer 1 kWh/t die werkindeks van die erts verminder en die graad en opbrengs in lotflottasietoetse verhoog. Verbeterde bevryding by growwer groottes is ook aangetoon (Kingman, 2006). Werk gaan voort op grond van hierdie bevindinge ten einde die tegnologie te kommersialiseer. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is om ʼn modelleringsraamwerk te ontwikkel om die waardeproposisie van mikrogolfbehandeling van erts te bepaal. Daar is in die literatuur afgekom op verskeie modelle vir die modellering van vloeidiagramme vir flottasie van mineraalverwerking, maar hierdie modelle inkorporeer nie die voerertsbevrydingseienskap as ʼn insetveranderlike in hulle berekeninge nie. ʼn Fundamentele afgeleide eienskapgebaseerde model is geïdentifiseer as geskik vir vloeidiagrammodellering van mikrogolfbehandelde erts, aangesien dit bevryding as ʼn indirekte veranderlike by die berekening van die flotteertempokonstante aangewend het deur die gebruik van kontakhoek om hidrofobisiteit van die deeltjieoppervlak te beskryf. Die model is suksesvol in eenhede van die flottasievloeidiagram wat in HSC Chemistry ontwikkel is, geïnkorporeer en tesame met data van die mineraalbevrydingsontleder (MBO) gebruik om die gevolge van veranderinge in voerertsbevryding op die opbrengs van voorskeiselflottasie te ondersoek. Verskillende bevrydingscenario’s is geskep wat óm die modifisering van porfierkoperflotteringstoevoer heen gebaseer is. ʼn Sensitiwiteitsontleding van die verskillende voerstroombevrydingscenario’s is uitgevoer om die vermoë van die model om die verskille in stroomaf-verwerking van mikrogolfbehandelde en onbehandelde ertse te toets, doeltreffend te modelleer. In die geval van ʼn enkele flottasiesel van 85 m3 groot met ʼn vastestof-toevoervloeitempo van 890 tph, is waargeneem dat veranderinge in flottasietoevoer-bevryding benede ʼn sekere grootte (120 μm in die geval van die porfierkopererts) geen beduidende uitwerking op die opbrengs van die waardemineraal gehad het nie. Beduidende verskille in die opbrengs van die waardemineraal is slegs by growwer groottes bo 120 μm waargeneem. Die resultate het daarop gedui dat verbetering in die opbrengs van waardeminerale as gevolg van verbeterde bevryding ná die toepassing van mikrogolftegnologie beperkinge ten opsigte van grootte het en opvallend afhanklik is van die toevoermaalgrootte. Sensitiwiteitstoetsing van toevoermaalgrootte is daarna op dieselfde enkele selvloeidiagram wat voerders met dieselfde mineralogie gebruik uitgevoer, maar met verskillende maalgroottes. Die resultate het daarop gedui dat maksimum voordele van die toepassing van mikrogolftegnologie die beste verkry sou word deur gebruik van growwe maling by groottes tussen P70 = 200 μm en P70 = 300 μm vir die porfierkoperertse wat in hierdie navorsing in oorweging geneem is. Growwe maling skyn die beste manier te wees om verbeterde bevryding in stroomaf-verwerking van mikrogolfbehandelde ertse te eksploiteer. Ondersoeke soortgelyk aan dié wat op die vloeidiagram van die enkelselflottasie uitgevoer is, is toe op ʼn deurlopende vloeidiagram van die aanlegvoorskeierflottasie uitgevoer. Die vloeidiagram het bestaan uit nege voorskeiselle in serie elk met ʼn volume van 85 m3 met ʼn vastestof-toevoervloeitempo van 890 tph in die ry voorskeiselle. Die resultate het daarop gedui dat daar geen aanmerklike verskil in algemene kumulatiewe opbrengs van die finale voorskeiry by fyn maalgroottes benede ʼn P70-maalgrootte van 120 μm met verbeteringe in voerertsbevryding was nie. Sensitiwiteitsontleding van voermaalgrootte het ʼn beduidende variasie in kumulatiewe opbrengs by growwe maalgroottes van bo P70 = 129 μm getoon. Hierdie variasie is toegeskryf aan verbeteringe in waardemineraalbevryding van flottasietoevoererts uit geslote saamgestelde deeltjies tot die maksimum moontlike teoretiese bevrydingscenario van ten volle bevryde waardemineraaldeeltjies. ʼn Persentasiepuntverbetering van 7.2 in die kumulatiewe algemene opbrengs van waardemineraal en ʼn persentasiepuntverbetering van 2 tot 3 in die verrykingsratio is ook bo die P70 = 250 μmmaalgroottes waargeneem ná verbetering van die bevryding van die waardemineraaldeeltjies van die flottasietoevoererts van ʼn tipiese flottasieaanlegtoevoer tot die maksimum. Die toenames in graad en kumulatiewe opbrengs by growwe groottes is toegeskryf aan verbeteringe in die bevryding van die waardemineraaldeeltjies van die flottasietoevoererts. Op grond van die resultate is daar tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat toepassing van mikrogolftegnologie groter voordele in stroomaf-verwerking van grofgemaalde ertse sal bied.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6498
This item appears in the following collections: