Plant process optimization is all about good planning and meticulous implementation – there’s no quick-fix.
Optimal recovery is the sum of many parts, of which a quality flocculant is just one. Getting the fundamental things right in thickener operations is essential, because mistakes in this part of the process can have significant implications for the mine’s bottom line. Avoiding some common errors goes a long way to improving the situation.
Some mine operators expect the flocculants to offset poor process optimization, so they increase flocculant dosage in the hope of enhancing mineral recovery. The problem is that high dosages of flocculants can reduce the underflow density, increase pumping issues, upset the overflow clarity, and cause downstream issues.
The other common mistake that mine operators make is to base their purchasing decisions solely on price and ignore both product quality and technical support. Consequently, when they encounter problems with the products, they’re left on their own, with no support to help them remedy the situation.
We recognize that quality chemicals, supported by technical and application expertise and knowledge sharing are critical requirements for any successful mining operation.
To support mines in solving the complex challenges that they face in thickener operations, Kemira has devised a three-pronged approach that encompasses quality products, technical support, and knowledge sharing. We recognize that quality chemicals, supported by technical and application expertise and knowledge sharing are critical requirements for any successful mining operation.
At the root of Kemira’s approach is providing solid foundations for successful process optimization by delivering tailored on-site training for operational, engineering, metallurgical, and supervisory mine personnel. We firmly believe that through training, operators can be made more aware of the key areas to focus on. The operator should be well versed in decision making, looking at the pros and cons of each decision in order to get the balance right.
The key components of the training program cover the following areas: safety and product handling, best practices, problem solving, process equipment operation and control, practical laboratory testing, and monitoring.
A good rule of thumb is this: the level of recovery is only as good as the quality of your optimization.
We have read many accounts of mining companies being short-changed by unreliable suppliers and substandard chemicals. Our advice is to partner with certified and reputable manufacturers like Kemira, with a solid, proven track record, a global supply network, and the ability to provide expert technical support when required.
Lastly, although the spending on flocculants may be considered high, it should be balanced with the potentially much higher cost of a plant having to shut down or run at reduced throughput. A good rule of thumb is this: the level of recovery is only as good as the quality of your optimization.