Numerical Investigation of Slurry Flow and Particle Segregation Dynamics in a Gravity Concentrator

Additonal authors: Miskovic, S.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Caliskan, U.

Gravity separation is a technique that depends on the difference in density of minerals for their separation. Although this method is one of the oldest separation techniques, it is still preferred in the industry because of its low capital and operating cost while it is environmental-friendly. In this paper, we present a new numerical methodology that can be used to investigate dynamics of dense slurry flows in gravity separation systems. A simple channel with a set of riffles is selected as a test platform in order to observe the effect of the riffle shape on segregation profile of particles with different densities. It is believed that the riffle shape would affect the slurry flow and possibly cause one class of particles to segregate within the riffle zone. The turbulence, as a disturbance effect within the riffle zone, causes heavy particles to displace the light, that is, the heavy particles will be trapped in riffles, while the lighter particles are carried by water to the end of the channel, which is an example to uninterrupted suspension. MP-PIC model in OpenFOAM is used to study the effect of riffle shape and slurry percentage of solids in this simple gravity separator on particle segregation profile of four discrete mineral density classes, which are Quartz/Clay (SG 2.6), Pyrite (SG 4.2), Chalcopyrite (SG 5.1), and Gold (SG 19.32). Gold particles are found to be readily captured and retained in the riffles because of their high density, while particles with the intermediate densities are more influenced by the flow. The developed model framework has been proven robust and capable of providing physical results even for the flows with a very high percentage of solids, characteristic for mineral processing operations. INTRODUCTION Gravity-based ore concentration techniques make use of differences in density of minerals within an ore to enable separation of valuables from the gangue. As some of the oldest techniques used for ore beneficiation, they are known to offer a range of benefits such as low specific energy consumption and low capital and operating costs (Burt, 1999; Falconer, 2003; Holland-Batt, 1998), however, they suffer from low selectivity, poor separation efficiency, and low capacity. Gravity separation techniques are common practices in the mining industry and are employed widely for the precious mineral concentration, iron ore recovery and coal preparation (Kroll-Rabotin, Bourgeois, & Climent, 2013; Laplante & Spiller, 2002; Williams, 1997). For example, gravity separation systems are highly applicable for precious metal enrichment operations by being included in primary grinding circuits, shaking table tailing separation, pre-concentration of leach feed and flotation concentrate enrichment for both flash and conventional flotation purposes (Burt, 1999; Falconer, 2003; Holland-Batt, 1998; Laplante & Spiller, 2002; McAlister, 1992). Gravity separation can be employed in the copper processing circuits by being integrated into the pre-flotation circuit to capture the gravity recoverable gold (GRG) and any free copper aiming to enhance the gold and copper recovery of the plant. When native copper and GRGs are present in the deposit, this integration not only facilitates plant overall performance via removal of the valuables early in the circuit, but it also reduces downstream operational expenditures due to less retention time of coarser copper particles in the system.
Mots Clés: Copper 2019, COM2019