Program B

Optimising the grinding, flotation and leaching stages

The aim of this program is to maximise concentrate production at the target grade at the lowest possible cost. To do this, we are integrating grinding and flotation to maximise mill feed tonnage within the constraint of recovery in rougher flotation and final concentrate grade.

The key process variable linking grinding and flotation as well as leach circuits is the degree of liberation of the value mineral, a parameter usually measured off-line in geometallurgical programs. We are developing new soft and hard sensors for in-situ measurements of liberation. Leach circuits show variable performance due to variable value and gangue mineralogy and, in cases, variability in reagent consumption.

Research challenge

Real time predictive models in grinding, flotation and leach circuits using the existing sensor suite at site. This will help identify new opportunities for process optimisation, and identify new sensor data feeds that could be incorporated into the models. This may include new vibration sensors to monitor hydrocyclone performance, mill volumetric load, liberation sensing and new robust sensors for acid leach systems.

Research projects

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  • Stage Project B1: GRINDING CIRCUIT

    Kwaku Boateng Owusu

    Research project 1 (B RP1): Sensing and optimisation of grinding circuits including mill load and product size

    (This project is part of Research Group 1 - Comminution)

    This project is investigating opportunities for sensing and optimisation in grinding circuits for multi-variate optimisation of flotation feed particle size, liberation and mill throughput.

    Student: Kwaku Boateng Owusu

    Principal supervisors: Adjunct A/Prof Max Zanin, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Richmond Asamoah

    Research lead: UniSA

    Translation partner: Manta Control

    This project is linked to Translation Projects 7 and 8 (B TP7, B TP8).

     

    Research project 2 (B RP2): Predictive machine health monitoring for SAG/AG mills

    (This project is part of Research Group 1 - Comminution)

    This new technique will enable operators to select appropriate feed rates of processing equipment, thereby providing optimal throughput and prevent the clogging of processing equipment that causes downtime. It will also save energy without over grinding, which causes machine wear and tear.

    Student: TBC

    Supporting student: Zixian (Rhea) He - Masters by coursework

    Principle supervisor: Dr Lei Chen

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Junjie Zhang

    Research lead: University of Adelaide

    Translation partners: Manta Controls

     

    Difan Tang

    Research project 3 (B RP3): New sensor development for particle size in hydrocyclones

    (This project is part of Research Group 1 - Comminution)

    This new technique will enable operators to provide optimal size of particles with adequate liberation matching the downstream pulp chemical conditions and flotation response.

    Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Difan Tang

    Principle supervisors: Prof Chunhua Shen, Dr Lei Chen

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Junjie Zhang

    Research lead: University of Adelaide

    Translation partners: Manta Controls

    This project is linked to Translation Project 8 (B TP8).

     

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  • Stage Project B2: FLOTATION CIRCUIT

    Bismark Amankwaah-Kyeremeh

    Research project 4 (B RP4): Sensing and optimisation of flotation circuits and integration with grinding

    (This project is part of Research Group 2 - Flotation)

    This project is investigating opportunities for sensing and optimisation in flotation circuits for multi-variate optimisation of grade and recovery with focus on PSD and liberation from grinding circuit, froth vision analysis.

    Student: Bismark Amankwaa Kyeremeh

    Principal supervisors: Adjunct A/Prof Max Zanin, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Richmond Asamoah

    Research lead: UniSA

    Translation partners: Manta Controls, Magotteaux

    This project is linked to Translation Projects 8 and 9 (B TP8, B TP9).

     

  • Stage Project B3: TAILS LEACH CIRCUIT

    Linda Rozenberga

    Research project 5 (B RP5): Metal organic framework based fibre-optic sensors

    (This project is part of Research Group 3 - Leaching)

    This project is evaluating in-situ and ex-situ probes and analytical techniques with a focus on free acid, Fe (III)/ Fe (II), and Silica in solution and their correlation to Uranium recovery and acid consumption in tails leach circuits for different feed types.

    Student: Linda Rozenberga

    Principal supervisors: Prof David Beattie, A/Prof Marta Krasowska, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Richmond Asamoah

    Research lead: UniSA

    Translation partners: Magotteaux

    This project is linked to Research Project 6 (B RP6) and Translation Project 10 (B TP10).

     

    Kirsten Louw

    Research project 6 (B RP6): Diffusive processes in mineral processing

    (This project is part of Research Group 3 - Leaching)

    This project aims to model diffusion of Fe3+ ions in MOF and solve non-linear diffusion equation with application to population dynamics. The governing equation will be solved using symmetry analysis.

    Student: Kirsten Louw

    Principal supervisors: Dr Bronwyn Hajek, A/Prof Marta Krasowska, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Richmond Asamoah

    Research lead: UniSA

    Translation partners: Magotteaux

    This project is linked to Research Project 5 (B RP5).

     

    Todd Gillam

    Research project 7 (B RP7): Formation of MIP particle film on substrate and successful detection of flotation frothers via gravimetric detection

    (This project is part of Research Group 3 -  Leaching)

    This project will develop thin films for chemical tracking during flotation. Specifically, collector and frother sensors will be developed.

    Principal Supervisors: A/Prof Marta Krasowska, Prof David Beattie, Prof William Skinner, A/Prof Anton Blencowe

    Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Todd Gillam

    Research lead: UniSA

    Translation Partner: Magotteaux

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  • Translation projects

    Dr Richmond Asamoah                       Dr Junjie Zhang

    Translation project 7 (B TP7): Manta Mic Acouster Analyser

    This translation project supports Research Project 1 (B RP1) towards sensing and optimisation of grinding circuit through acoustic sensor response to ore complexity and variability.

    Chief Investigators: Adjunct A/Prof Max Zanin, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr Richmond Asamoah, Dr Junjie Zhang

    Translation Partners: Manta Controls, Magotteaux

     

    Translation project 8 (B TP8): Ultrasonic PSD sensors

    This translation project supports B TP1, B TP3 and B TP4 towards sensing and optimisation of both grinding and flotation circuit through on-line PSD measurements using ultrasonic PSD sensors.

    Chief Investigators: Adjunct A/Prof Max Zanin, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr Richmond Asamoah, Dr Junjie Zhang

    Translation Partners: Manta Controls, Magotteaux

     

    Translation project 9 (B TP9): Pulp Chemistry Monitor for improved predictive flotation model and process performance

    This translation project seeks to install the Pulp Chemistry Monitor, first at the rougher cells, and incorporate the data collected into a predictive flotation model for better flotation performance. The translation project also supports Research Project 4 (B RP4) towards sensing and optimisation of flotation circuit through pulp chemistry response and sensitivity to ore variability and complexity.

    Chief Investigators: Adjunct A/Prof Max Zanin, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr Richmond Asamoah, Dr Junjie Zhang

    Translation Partners: Manta Controls, Magotteaux

     

    Translation project 10 (B TP10): Tails Leach Circuit

    The aim of this translation project is to perform detailed laboratory experiments with the new sensors developed under conditions similar to the tails leach circuit of BHP Olympic Dam. This translation project supports Research Project 5 and 6. (B RP5 and B RP6).

    Chief Investigators: Prof David Beattie, Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr Richmond Asamoah, Dr Junjie Zhang

    Translation Partners: Magotteaux, Rockwell Automation

     

    Translation project 11 (B TP11): Development of laboratory AG/SAG mill

    The aim of this translation project is to design and fabricate a laboratory AG/SAG mill for batch scale experiments. This translation project will support Research Project 1 (B RP1).

    Chief Investigator: Prof William Skinner

    Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Richmond Asamoah

    Translation Partner: Magotteaux