The Weir Group is looking to improve its mining customers’ process efficiency and profitability by advancing the classification and separation capability of the hydrocyclone circuit.
It recognises the hydrocyclone is one of the simplest pieces of equipment on a minerals processing site yet it has the potential to drive significant profit.
Improved classification and separation capabilities could result from the following:
- Significant re-working of existing hydrocyclone circuit
- Novel method for classification of particle size which can serve to separate ore in to two streams based on the size of the particles
In most mineral processing operations, mineralised ore/rock is blasted, crushed and then ground/milled in a wet slurry environment to a particle size typically in 0.05 - 0.2mm range.
This enables the liberation of the valuable minerals from waste material. However, the typical mill discharge slurry may be in the range of 0.05 - 2mm, meaning many particles are recycled through the mill multiple times to reach the target particle size.
The grinding/milling stage of ore comminution is recognised as the most costly process in mineral beneficiation in terms of both energy intensity and equipment maintenance demands.
This process is made more difficult by the inefficiencies in classification systems which aim to separate material based on particle size whereby ore below a certain size flows into the next stage in the process (the “undersize” fraction) and ore above that size is transported back to the previous process step (the “oversize” fraction), usually grinding.
A typical hydrocyclone cluster will consist of 8-10 cyclones and will process up to 10,000,000 tonnes of material per year. Often these clusters allow up to 20% of the undersize to be incorrectly classified and recycled through the mill and similarly 20% of oversize material to be incorrectly classified and pass on to later process steps with the undersize fraction.
In addition to this, ‘roping’ is a common phenomenon in cyclones which results in all material reporting to the underflow and recirculating through the mill until the issue is corrected.
A solution which can replace or increase the efficiency of the hydrocyclone circuit would be of interest for exploration.
- Potential to integrate into minerals processing existing circuits in place of a hydrocyclone cluster. The material to be separated is transported around the site by conveyors and pipelines
- Can function in highly abrasive environments with sand, rocks, metals, water and saline all present
- Must be adaptable to different materials and to different particle size distributions – 0.05mm – 2mm
- Some flexibility during operation to allow for changing mine conditions – particle size distribution, flow rate etc.
- Increase in separation efficiency
Preferred collaboration types are:
- Joint development
- Contract research
- Contract Analysis and Testing
- Technology Licensing
- Technology Acquisition
- Supply agreement
Items to be submitted
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