The Red Dog VIP mill optimization project. Part B: An integrated approach to modelling and design of the flotation plant

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1069, 2003

B.K. Gorain and A.W. Stradling

The traditional metallurgical scale-up techniques for flotation plants are based on lumped flotation rate constants, dimensionless hydrodynamic numbers and the use of safety factors. Once the plant has been designed, the flotation principles that govern scale-up play almost no role in the optimization of the circuit to meet its metallurgical targets. This deficiency can potentially lead to a plant design incapable of meeting its targets, especially when circuits incorporate large flotation cells. This paper demonstrates the application of the k = PSbRf model in providing a suitable framework for flotation modelling, scale-up and circuit optimization, thus presenting an integrated approach to the problem. Studies were conducted at Teck Cominco’s Red Dog concentrator to characterize cell hydrodynamics, gas dispersion properties, froth flow behaviour, entrainment and ore floatability to obtain the key data necessary to develop a model for the flotation circuit. The findings of these studies are presented in this paper, which provide valuable insights into the modelling and optimization of the Red Dog flotation circuit.
Keywords: Flotation, Modelling, Plant design, Circuit optimization, Bubble surface area flux.