Flotation

Flotation is the most common beneficiation method used for metal containing ores and industrial minerals. Flotation can also be used in treatment of recycled materials, remediation of contaminated soil, de-inking of paper, and water treatment, for example.

GTK’s Mineral Processing Laboratory has versatile flotation equipment for studies as well as experience in beneficiation of hundreds of ores and other materials. The research portfolio extends from batch tests in a laboratory to continuously operated large-scale campaigns at the pilot plant.

The study of a new ore sample or other type of material starts with laboratory testing. For this research stage, samples ranging from a couple of dozen to a couple of hundred kilograms are needed, usually drill core samples. An essential part of the beginning of a study is the chemical and mineralogical analysis of the sample. The laboratory tests study the basic flotation variables and attainable recovery/ grade levels of valuable components. Based on this information, it is possible to design larger-scale tests, either for a minipilot or a pilot test run.

Flotation machines with cell size from 1.5 to 15 litres are used in the laboratory testing. A special feature of our flotation machines are automatic froth scrapers, which ensure accurate and repeatable results. The chemical properties of flotation are adjusted and monitored by measuring pH, electrode potential, and oxygen level.

The flotation machines of a continuously operated minipilot circuit contain the same rotor/stator mechanisms as the laboratory equipment, but there are four cells in a row in each machine. This mobile minipilot plant can be used to study approximately 0.5–2 tonnes of samples.

The pilot-scale test run provides the opportunity to extensively study different kinds of beneficiation flowsheets as well as various types of methods and equipment. The required sample size is usually approximately 50–300 tonnes, sometimes up to thousands of tonnes. The basic equipment in flotation circuits includes a wide range of mechanical flotation machines whose cell size varies from 50 litres to 1.5 m 3. There is also a 70-litre Skim-Air machine for coarse flotation, a SIF coarse flotation cell (300 litres), and several different types of flotation columns whose volume varies from a couple of litres to three cubic metres. The pilot plant includes a continuously operated analyser as well as top-class instrumentation and automation systems for control and adjustment of the flotation circuit.

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