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MATERIALS HANDLING


M INNOVATIVE


recovery or the quality of concentrate falls below expectations, management usually resorts to a haphazard ‘tweak-test- tweak-test’ then repeat approach using baked-in corrections that might have worked in previous recovery operations. Tis type of shotgun approach to problem solving is not only time consuming and wasteful, but it also does not root out the specific mineralogical problem. Precisely identifying the mineralogical cause for process limitations enables operations to adjust the process with targeted solutions and enhance recovery without the trial- and-error approach. Nasaco’s Operational Mineralogy methodology does just that. Techniques such as quantitative scanning electron microscopy, which is a tried and true technology for identifying the gangue minerals in flotation concentrates, were previously only available to mineralogical researchers.


W


hen a mineral processing operation encounters a reduction of performance where the efficiency of mineral


Operational Mineralogy turns these advanced techniques into operational tools for completing in-situ mineralogical analysis.


After an operation detects a recovery


problem, a Nasaco engineer samples process streams throughout the plant including feed, concentrate, trailing and waste streams. Te engineer then completes a “bulk modal” analysis to identify which minerals are present in each stream. Tis preliminary investigation guides the engineer in creating an improvement plan. Next, using Nasaco’s proprietary software, an in- depth, second-stage analysis is completed as a starting point for dialling in solutions to improve the process at hand. Of course, knowing the exact mineralogy of the ore does not improve recovery in and of itself. Operational Mineralogy makes enhanced recovery reality by improving the quality of concentrates. It addresses the mineral composition and mechanical structures with reagents and other chemicals


“The most obvious gains are in the metallurgical performance, improved recovery, improved quality of concentrate, and reduction of undesirable species”


INERAL PROCESSING How a smart methodology improves mineral recovery


prescribed for the exact ore in question. Te secondary and more complicated analysis not only identifies minerals with precision, it also generates practical solutions for the efficient liberation of each mineral.


A WHOLE-PLANT APPROACH Operational Mineralogy goes beyond compositional analysis. It also takes a whole-plant approach to implementing solutions. Engineers evaluate the current reagent and chemical schedules to determine how well the current process is working. Te goal is to highlight areas where recovery is most successful and keep them. Engineers isolate the bottleneck points and focus on implementing solutions at pinch points where the current process has hit its limitations. To eliminate the “trial and error”


approach to recovery problems, Operational Mineralogy distinguishes itself with its ability to provide economical solutions for those pinch points. Using hard data, process improvements and alternative chemicals are proposed. Focused laboratory testing evaluates the recommended solutions for efficacy and more importantly, practical implementation. Nasaco CEO Simon Isherwood explains, “Successful testing at this stage usually leads to a plant executing


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