Column flotation circuit design at Les Mines Selbaie

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 970, 1993
R. del Villar, H. Soto, Department of Mining and Metallurgy, Universite Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, and P. Lacombe, Les Mines Selbaie, Joutel, Quebec
Abstract During the summer of 1989, Les Mines Selbaie, with the cooperation of University Laval initiated a research project to evaluate the column flotation technology for its concentrator near Joutel, Quebec. The experimental work involved both a 5 cm by 11 m laboratory column and a 45 cm by 10 m home-made pilot unit.
Amenability tests were conducted using both units on various streams of the plant. Results showed that columns are not suitable for the copper cleaning circuit because the loss of precious metals, associated with the rejected pyrite, overcome the improved copper metallurgy. On the other hand, column testing at the zinc circuit showed improved zinc selectivity.
Scale-up testing was, therefore, conducted on the first zinc cleaner concentrate using the laboratory-size column. The influence of variables such as porous sparger grain size, wash water flow rate, airflow rate and froth depth values on column performance was first assessed. Scale-up parameters were then determined using the optimal operating conditions from the previous tests. Simulation facilitated the determination of the most convenient plant-scale column arrangement.
A number of conclusions concerning the experimental determination of scale-up parameters are also presented.
Keywords: Mineral processing, Column flotation technology.
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