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3 vues14 pagesAbility of Kinetic flotation Models to simulate

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE

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Ability of Kinetic flotation Models to simulate

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3 vues14 pagesABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE

Ability of Kinetic flotation Models to simulate

© All Rights Reserved

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© Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum

Published by Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum

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INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION

M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

Département de génie des mines, de la métallurgie et des matériaux

Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Abstract — The optimization of grinding-flotation processes requires flotation models that react to

changes in the properties of the particle population. This study analyzes the capability of usual flotation

models to respond to changes in the size and composition distributions of the feed particles. A particle

size and composition dependent kinetic flotation model is used to generate synthetic data for varying feed

particle composition, texture and size distribution. Then, six different models are calibrated on these

synthetic data and assessed for their ability to predict the effects due to changes in particle properties. In

spite of the flexibility of distributed flotation rate constants for fitting the effects of particle heterogeneity,

all the models predict poorly the concentrate grade because they do not account explicitly for particle

composition.

Résumé — Pour optimiser globalement les procédés de comminution et séparation, les modèles de

flottation doivent être capables de réagir de façon réaliste aux changements des propriétés de la

population de particules traitée. L’objectif de cette étude est d’évaluer les compétences des modèles

usuels de simulation de la flottation à réagir aux changements de composition et de dimension des

particules. La méthodologie de l’étude est basée sur l’utilisation de données de flottation synthétiques

pour des populations de particules de granulométrie, libération et teneur variables. Six modèles

cinétiques habituels, négligeant la mixité des particules, sont calibrés sur ces données et évalués selon

leur aptitude à répondre adéquatement à des perturbations des propriétés structurales des particules.

Malgré la flexibilité offerte par certains modèles au niveau de la distribution des constantes cinétiques,

ils prédisent mal les teneurs de concentré pour des propriétés variables des particules, car ils ne tiennent

pas compte de la distribution de composition des particules.

particles in the feed. The latter aspect of any flotation model is

Mathematical models of flotation are usually designed to be essential when interactions between the comminution and

used in flotation plant simulators for equipment, flowsheet and flotation plants are being considered [8-14] for overall plant

control strategy design as well as for optimal tuning of existing optimization [15]. Some empirical flotation models account

production units [1-5]. Flotation is described as a kinetic for the incidence of particle size on the rate constant [16-22],

process involving complex surface interactions between but assume that minerals are perfectly liberated. This

particles and air bubbles. The rate of transfer of particles into obviously is not true, but the problems associated with

the concentrate is related to the properties of the slurry phase measurement, representation and prediction of mineral

(three-phase suspension hydrodynamics, bubble size and liberation are still quite complex [23-25] and it is difficult to

load), the froth phase (bubble coalescence, motion of particles, integrate the liberation information into the flotation models.

water and air) and the particles (size, shape, mass and surface The neglected particle properties are taken into account

hydrophobicity). There are quite elaborate fundamental indirectly by introducing possible distributions of the mineral

models which describe the microprocesses occurring in the flotation rates (fast, slow and no floating particles or contin-

slurry and froth phases [7]; however, most flotation models uously distributed rates of flotation [26, 27]).

used for simulation purposes are based on empirical equations The objective of the paper is to examine the validity of

relating the rate constants to the operating conditions empirical models to represent or extrapolate the flotation

380 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

process response to changes in ore texture, mineral grade and strictly related to its surface composition and not to its

size reduction by grinding. The methodology followed volume composition. However, because of the statistical

consists of a comparison of the results of various flotation correlation existing between both compositions, it is

models with reference simulated batch flotation experiments. legitimate as a first approximation to relate flotation kinetics

The reference flotation behavior is generated using a to volume composition. One drawback of this assumption is

synthetic population of particles involving the description of that it is impossible to take account of the unfloatable mineral

the size and mineral composition of the particles. The grains completely surrounded by gangue. This phenomenon

simulation is performed assuming a composition and size might be significant for low mineral content particles and

dependent attachment to bubbles as well as a mass dependent finely disseminated minerals. The simulation study is limited

entrainment to the concentrate. The investigated flotation to a binary ore containing grains of a valuable mineral

models are of varying complexities and are all calibrated on scattered in a gangue matrix. The steps followed to generate

the simulated experimental results. Then, the prediction the particle populations are the following:

performances of the models are assessed with respect to their 1. Generation of the ore cumulative size distribution using

reaction to changes in the particle population properties as a parameterized model as a function of the size d, a number

well as to the parameter sensitivity. of n particle classes are thus created. The Gates-Gaudin-

The paper is organized as follows. First, the method Schumann is selected for the passing cumulative fractions

used to generate particle populations and batch flotation (j = 1 to n, in a decreasing size order)

synthetic data are explained. Then, the model structures are m

described and calibrated using these synthetic results. The Ê dj ˆ

Xj = Á ˜ (1)

simulator, as well as the various models, is submitted to the Ë Xo ¯

same perturbations of the flotation feed particle population. In where m is an adjustable parameter. The non-cumulative

the next stage of model evaluation, the parameters of the fractions are then

various models are calibrated on the simulated results and

their sensitivity is evaluated. The selection of the flotation x j = X j -1 - X j (2)

models is finally discussed with respect to a possible trade-off

between the sensitivity and the performance of the models. Table I presents the values selected for the reference population

used in the numerical examples presented later (m = 0.42, X0

= 300 mm ).

GENERATION OF PARTICLE POPULATIONS 2. Selection of the ore mineral content t (mass fraction). For

the reference population, the chalcopyrite content is 4.33%

The flotation feed particles used for the simulation are corresponding to a copper content of 1.5%.

described by their size (d) and volume composition (z) distri- 3. Generation of the mineral content of each size fraction tj.

butions since their flotation responses are assumed to be This is performed through an empirical equation which links

controlled mainly by this (d, z) pair of properties. Variations the ore and mineral cumulative size distributions as it is

of shape are neglected as well as those related to surface frequently observed on ground ore populations [28-31]. The

composition. It is clear that the particle hydrophobicity is cumulative mass fraction of mineral in size classes j, cj is

Size % Cum. Mineral Cumulated Mineral Mineral Distribution Gangue Distribution Unliberated Unliberated

classes Retai- passing distri- mineral grade liberated of the liberated of the fraction mineral

Size

ned bution distribution by class liberated by class liberated grade

mineral gangue

(mm) xj Xj cj Cj tj £mj Xlib

mj £gj Xlib

gj uj tuj

(%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

] +inf, 300 ] 0.0 100.0 0.0 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 300, 212 ] 1 13.6 86.4 10.1 89.9 3.2 0.0 0.0 1.8 0.4 13.3 3.3

] 212, 150 ] 2 11.7 74.7 9.5 80.4 3.5 0.0 0.0 12.9 2.4 10.2 4.0

] 150, 106 ] 3 10.1 64.6 8.8 71.6 3.8 0.0 0.0 34.0 5.5 6.8 5.6

] 106, 75 ] 4 8.7 55.9 7.9 63.6 3.9 0.0 0.0 54.8 7.6 4.1 8.3

] 75, 53 ] 5 7.6 48.3 7.1 56.6 4.0 0.6 0.1 87.1 10.5 1.2 24.5

] 53, 37 ] 6 6.5 41.8 6.4 50.1 4.1 7.7 1.6 92.3 9.9 0.8 33.9

] 37, 26 ] 7 5.7 36.1 5.5 44.6 4.2 21.3 3.9 95.2 8.6 0.4 41.7

] 26, 18 ] 8 4.9 31.2 5.0 39.7 4.2 37.2 6.1 97.0 7.9 0.3 47.5

] 18, 13 ] 9 4.2 27.0 3.8 35.9 4.2 51.5 6.5 98.0 6.1 0.2 51.4

-13 10 27.0 0.0 35.9 0.0 5.8 68.6 81.7 98.4 41.1 0.9 55.4

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION 381

C j = a0 + a1 X j + a2 X 2j + a3 X 3j (3)

Table I. Figure 2 shows the variation of the liberation degrees

as a function of the relative particle size (Rj) for mineral and

where a0, a1, a2 and a3 are empirical coefficients which, in the

gangue and Figure 3 shows the mineral content in each size

following numerical examples, have been obtained from the

class (tj) and in the composite particles of each size class (tuj).

chalcopyrite flotation data of a complex sulfide ore from New

As a result of the empirical relationship which is assumed to

Brunswick [30] (see Table I and Figure 1). From Equation 3,

exist between ore and mineral cumulative size distributions

it is possible to calculate the non-cumulative mineral distri-

(see Figure 1), it is clear that the breakage is not strictly

bution in the size fraction j, cj as well as the mineral content

random (purely transgranular) and, as a consequence, the

of each size class tj (Table I):

finer fractions are richer in the mineral component. Also, as

c j = Cj -l - Cj (4) expected, the average mineral content of the middlings

(composite particles) is close to the ore mineral content when

cj t the liberation degree tends to zero, while it is close to 50%

tj = (5) when the liberation degree becomes large.

xj

gangue in each size class, £m,j and £g,j, respectively (also

named liberation degrees). These values are related to the

mineral grain size dm (75 mm in the reference population) and

the mineral content through an equation proposed by Wiegel

and Li [32]. The expression is detailed in Appendix 1.

From this information, the mass fraction uj of the mixed

particles containing unliberated mineral in each size class j

and their average mineral contents tu,j can be deduced

(

u j = 1 - t j £ m, j - 1- t j £ g, j ) (6)

tuj =

(

t j 1 - £ m, j )

(7)

(

1 - t j £ m, j - 1- t j £ g, j )

The overall mass fraction of mixed particles is

n

u= Âu x

j =1

j j (8) Fig. 2 Variation of the liberation degrees of the gangue and the mineral with

particle size.

where the value of u is 4.5% for the reference population.

Fig. 1. Mineral cumulative size distribution as a function of the ore cumu- Fig. 3. Average grades of particles (tj) and unliberated particles (tuj) as func-

lative size distribution. tions of particle size.

382 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

composite particles.The middlings composition distribution

in each size class j is described by an incomplete Beta

function [33]. Two parameters aj and bj are selected for each

class j following the procedure described in Appendix 2. As

the particle size decreases, the composition distribution

evolves from a dissymmetrical one maximum curve to a two

maximum U shape curve [33]. The results are compatible

with an analysis performed by Leroux [34] for a

chalcopyrite ore.

Table II gives the mass composition distributions of the

reference population for the various size classes. There are 12

classes from pure gangue to pure mineral. Figure 4 gives the

3-D histogram of the middlings (composite particles

representing 35% of the particle population). The distribution

of the liberated particles in the various size classes, which

represent 65% of the total particle population (33% of the Fig. 4. 3-D histogram of the middlings distribution.

mineral and 67% of the gangue), is presented in Table I as Xlib

mj

and Xlib

gi, respectively for mineral and gangue.

Table III summarizes the steps of the particle generation to 43% and 24 to 37%, respectively). As an example of the

process by showing the 17 parameters including the 9 variations of the feed properties, Table V gives the detailed

independent parameters aj and bj characterizing the middlings induced effects for the particles in the size range of 26 to 37

composition distribution (see Appendix 2) which are used mm, that play a major role in flotation. Although Table IV

to generate the 120 values of the particle mass fractions pi,j shows that the feed grade has only a slight impact on the total

(i = 1 to 12, j = 1 to 10). percentage of liberated mineral, it is noticeable in Table V that

Starting with the values defined for the reference the amount of middlings in the fines varies significantly even

population, the parameters are modified to emulate ore and more than for grain size changes. Also Table V shows that the

grinding process natural variations and thus produce percentage of pure mineral particles in the 26 to 37 mm particle

disturbed particle populations that can be subsequently size range containing the mineral phase is almost constant

submitted to the flotation process. Ore property variations are (around 10%), except when the mineral grain size is changed.

generated by changing the feed copper grade t (±0.5%) and

the mineral grain size dm (60, 75, 125 mm), while the Xo and

m parameters are changed to produce ore size distributions MODEL FOR FLOTATION SIMULATION

with d80 (80% cumulative passing size) ranging from 116 to

200 mm. The imposed variations are realistic as seen in Table The simulation model is used to generate pseudo-experi-

IV. The variations of the grain size and of the particle size mental batch flotation data which will be used subsequently

distribution induce significant effects on the overall mineral for the calibration of the usual representation models to be

liberation (the percentage of liberated mineral varies from 26 assessed (next section). Two mechanisms are considered to

Table II – Mass percentage of particles in the composition classes as a function of their size (100% in each row)

Composition classes

Size Size

(mm) classes 0 0 - 10 10 - 20 20 - 30 30 - 40 40 - 50 50 - 60 60 - 70 70 - 80 80 - 90 90 - 100 100

(%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

] +inf, 300 ] 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 300, 212 ] 1 1.7 95.2 2.8 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 212, 150 ] 2 12.5 81.6 4.6 1.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 150, 106 ] 3 32.7 59.4 5.0 1.8 0.7 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 106, 75 ] 4 52.7 38.4 5.0 2.2 1.0 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 75, 53 ] 5 83.6 6.9 3.5 2.3 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0

] 53, 37 ] 6 88.5 2.9 2.3 1.8 1.4 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.3

] 37, 26 ] 7 91.2 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9

] 26, 18 ] 8 92.9 1.0 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 1.6

] 18, 13 ] 9 93.9 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.7 2.2

-13 10 92.7 0.9 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 1.1 4.0

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION 383

Step Number of parameters Parameters

Generation of the ore size distribution 2 m and X0

Selection of the ore mineral content 1 t

Generation of the size class mineral 4 a0, a1, a2 and a3

contents

Selection of the liberated fractions 1 dm

Generation of the composition 9 9 independent parametersa and b

distribution of the middlings (see appendix 2)

Table IV – Properties of the disturbed particle populations and impact on % -74 mm (P74), % of liberated mineral

(ml) and % mineral in -74 mm (t74)

tCu tFeCuS2 m X0 dm d80 P74 ml t74

Population

(%) (%) (mm) (mm) (mm) (%) (%) (%)

Reference 1.5 4.3 0.42 300.0 75.0 176.4 55.9 30.1 4.9

Grade - 1.0 2.9 0.42 300.0 75.0 176.4 55.9 29.9 3.3

Grade + 2.0 5.8 0.42 300.0 75.0 176.4 55.9 30.3 6.6

Part. size - - 1.5 4.3 0.37 212.0 75.0 116.0 68.1 36.7 4.7

Part. size - 1.5 4.3 0.33 300.0 75.0 152.6 63.3 35.8 4.8

Part. size + 1.5 4.3 0.62 212.0 75.0 147.9 52.5 24.7 5.0

Part. size ++ 1.5 4.3 0.55 300.0 75.0 199.9 46.7 23.8 5.1

Grain size - 1.5 4.3 0.42 300.0 60.0 176.4 55.9 26.0 4.9

Grain size + 1.5 4.3 0.42 300.0 125.0 176.4 55.9 43.0 4.9

Table V – Composition distribution in the 26-37 mm size class for the various disturbed populations and percentage of

liberated mineral within the population of particles containing mineral

Composition classes Liberated

Population 0 0 - 10 10 - 20 20 - 30 30 - 40 40 - 50 50 - 60 60 - 70 70 - 80 80 - 90 90 - 100 100 mineral

(%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

Reference 91.2 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 10.2

Grade - 94.1 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.6 10.2

Grade + 88.5 1.7 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.1 1.2 10.4

Part. size - - 91.4 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 10.5

Part. size - 91.4 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 10.5

Part. size + 91.2 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 10.2

Part. size ++ 91.1 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.1 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 10.1

Grain size - 89.6 2.3 1.9 1.6 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.5 4.8

Grain size + 93.9 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 2.1 34.4

explain the transfer of particles from the flotation cell to the that the water phase chemistry (macro and micro hydrody-

concentrate: attachment to rising bubbles (“true flotation”) namics) are such that their effects on the attachment and

and transportation by the slurry entrained in the concentrate entrainment mechanisms are constant. The effect of changing

by the rising loaded air bubbles (“entrainment”). This is an particle size and composition would have an effect on the

oversimplified empirical description of the flotation kinetics slurry chemistry and bubble loading [41-44], but for the sake

since more complex bubble/particle interaction phenomena of simplicity, the reagent dosage and air flow rate are assumed

occur in both the slurry [7,34-36] and froth phases [8,37- 40] to be adjusted to maintain constant conditions.

of a flotation cell.

Although it is well known that both attachment and

Irreversible Attachment of Particles to Air Bubbles:

entrainment are reversible phenomena, they will be

considered here as irreversible mechanisms. Furthermore, the The kinetics of this pure flotation mechanism are assumed to be

focus will be put only on the effects of particle size [16-22] first order with respect to each (i, j) particle concentration in the

and composition on the flotation kinetics. Thus, it is assumed slurry. The mass flotation rate of particles (i, j) is thus given

384 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

with

Vij = kij mij = kij Mpij (9)

2 (13)

e = 0.5dmax

where M is the mass of particles in the cell, mij is the mass of

particles (i, j) in the slurry phase of the flotation cell, Vij is the where dmax is the particle size at which the function kj is

mass of particles (i, j) which float per unit of mass of solid maximum (see Figure 5). Figure 6 shows the 3-D size and

phase in the slurry phase and kij is the rate constant which is composition distribution of kij for the reference population.

a multiplicative function of the particle composition zi and

size dj

Irreversible Entrainment of Particles in the Flotation Froth:

kij = g ki k j (10)

The non-selective entrainment of particles into the

concentrate is due to unattached particles entrapped between

where g is an adjustable parameter which selects the overall

the loaded bubbles incoming at the slurry/froth interface. The

flotation rate amplitude. The ki function expresses the dependence

entrainment mechanisms are complex [47-50]; however here,

upon the volume composition zi [45, 46] according to

the overall rate is assumed to be proportional to the amount of

b -1

zia -1 (1 - zi ) water entrained by the loaded bubbles into the froth phase.

ki = (11) The entrainment coefficient is a function of the particle mass

B(a , b ) itself dependent on its size and composition. For a constant

where B is a Beta function (see Figure 5). In order to partially air bubbles flow and a constant water volume in the cell, the

take account of the effect of the particle surface composition, entrainment rate of particles is modelled by

particles which belong to the low mineral content classes Ê m n ˆ

(mass fractions 0.05 and 0.15) are assumed to contain a fixed

proportion of particles with locked mineral that do not emerge

Vije = Á k

Á

Ë

ÂÂ

i j

Vij + V w ˜ Eij

˜

¯

(14)

The selected proportions of such particles are 50 and 25%, where Eij is the mass dependent entrainment coefficient (0 to

respectively, independent of the particle size. This is a rough 1), Vw represents the entrainment of water occurring when

approximation since it is predictable that locked minerals there is no load of particles attached to the bubbles and k

occur mainly in coarse particles. However, it would have represents the increased entrainment of water by the loaded

been difficult to quantify this effect of the particle size on the bubbles. The factor Eij is modeled as a S shape curve by

locked mineral content. q

Ê m ij ˆ

The kj function expresses the dependence upon -0.693Á ˜ (15)

Ë m 50 ¯

particle size according to the results of Colburn et al. [18]. Eij = 1 - e

- d 2j

kj = e d 2j ÁÁ1 - Á ˜ ˜˜ e (12) considered as a sphere. Figure 7 shows the values of the

Ë Ë X o ¯ ¯ entrainment factor Eij as a function of the particle size and

composition. Due to the density difference between the

chalcopyrite and the gangue, for a given size, the mineral rich

Fig. 5. Values of the rate constant factors ki and kj as functions of particle Fig. 6. Distribution of the flotation rate constants for the reference popula-

size and composition. tion.

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION 385

0.9

0.8

0.7

Mineral recovery

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

Ref

Model 1

Model 2

0.2

Model 3

Model 4a

Model 4b

0.1

Model 5

Model 6

0

0 2 4 6 8 10 12

Time (min)

Fig. 7. Effect of particle size and composition on the entrainment coefficient.

Fig. 8. Mineral recovery for the reference population as simulated and rep-

resented by the six models.

particles are slightly less entrained in the froth than the

mineral poor particles.

The mass balance equation that describes the combined

actions of true flotation and entrainment in a semi-batch

process is written as

dMij

= -Vij - Vije (16)

dt

Replacing the rate of flotation and entrainment by their values

defined above, Equation 16 can be integrated for the reference

population. The time variations of mineral and gangue

recoveries and concentrate grade as well as the usual recovery

grade plot are presented in Figures 8 to 11 for the reference

population of particles (the continuous lines). As usual, the

rate of mineral recovery rapidly decreases when the easily

Fig. 9. Gangue recovery for the reference population as simulated and rep-

floated particles have been recovered. After six minutes, the

resented by the six models.

overall mineral recovery exhibits a very slow regime because

the prevailing mechanism is an entrainment of slow floating

particles (very coarse or very fine particles as well as low Table VI – Mineral grade, time required and gangue

mineral content particles and particles containing completely recovery, at 70% mineral recovery (G70, T70 , Rg70)

locked minerals). G70 T70 Rg70

Population

The simulation is also performed for the disturbed (%) (min) (%)

populations of particles (for populations that deviate from the

Reference 42.92 5.39 4.22

reference population). Table VI summarizes the results for the

Grade - 40.05 5.76 3.12

disturbed populations by giving the values of the concentrate

Grade + 45.21 5.08 5.20

grades (G70), the time required (T70) and the gangue recovery

Part. size - - 53.23 2.93 2.79

(Rg70) at 70% mineral recovery. As expected, the concentrate

Part. size - 50.20 3.64 3.15

grade is improved when the feed grade increases, the size

Part. size + 40.20 6.02 4.72

distribution is finer and the grain size is coarser. The T70 is not

Part. size ++ 29.27 13.45 7.62

very sensitive to the feed grade but increases when the

Grain size - 35.10 7.02 5.86

particles get coarser or the grain size finer. The Rg70 varies

Grain size + 56.28 3.52 2.46

strongly (a factor 3 from the lowest to the highest value)

386 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

composition, since this property is assumed unavailable for

model calibration, as it is in a real case.

Model 1: Three classes of particles are considered: floatable

mineral, gangue particles and unfloatable mineral particles.

Entrainment is not considered. The model requires three

parameters: the flotation rate constant of the floatable mineral

(km), the gangue (kg) and the fraction of unfloatable mineral

(fu). The model is simulated using, as for the simulation

model, the differential mass balance conservation equation

assuming first order processes for the mineral and the gangue.

entrainment. Since there is no detailed description of their

size and composition, the particles are all entrained in the

Fig. 10. Concentrate grade for the reference population as simulated and same proportion described by the unique parameter k of

represented by the six models. Equation 14 where Eij = 1 and Vw = 0.

the floatable mineral particles into two classes: the fast (rate

constant kf) and the slow (rate constant ks) floating particles.

The initial fraction of fast floating mineral is f [3].

Entrainment is parameterized as in Model 2.

explicitly in the flotation and entrainment mechanisms

assuming, however, perfect liberation as in the above models

and identical size distributions for the gangue and the mineral.

The rate constants of the mineral and gangue particles are

modelled through the common function kj(d) defined by

Equation 12, independently parameterized for the mineral and

the gangue. The rate constants are respectively given

( m

km, j = g m k j dmax ) (17)

( g

kg, j = g g k j dmax ) (18)

Fig. 11. Grade recovery curves as simulated and represented by the six

models. where g and dmax are the two parameters to be adjusted for the

mineral and the gangue. The entrainment is defined by

because a significant part of the gangue is floated due to its Equations 14 and 15 where the parameter k must be adjusted

association with the floatable mineral, thus explaining the (Vw is set to zero). The entrainment coefficient curve is

concentrate grade variations. considered known (m50 and p are fixed).

MODELS FOR FLOTATION DATA The number of degrees of freedom is considerably increased

REPRESENTATION by allowing an independent flotation rate constant for each

mineral and gangue particle size (km,j, kg,j, for j = 1 to n),

Six flotation models are assessed for their ability to represent whereas Model 4 uses a four parameter empirical model to

the effects of particle population changes. They are evaluated represent the effects of size on the flotation rate constants. The

with respect to their performance to represent the flotation entrainment mechanism is identical to the one in Model 4.

responses obtained with the above simulation model. The six

models are of increasing complexity, i.e., use an increasing Model 6: To account for the variation of the flotation rate as a

number of adjustable parameters. However, none of these function of the particle composition, a rectangular distributed

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION 387

Model Mineral flotation Gangue flotation Entrainment Number of parameters

1 km, fu kg 3

2 km, fu kg k 4

3 kf, ks, j kg k 5

4 gm, dm,max gg, dg,max k 5

5 kmj kgj k 2n + 1

6 kmj(max), kmj (min) kgj k 3n + 1

rate constant [51] is defined for each size fraction. The distri- where the index j corresponds to the grade and recovery in the

bution is defined by its minimum and maximum values (kmin,j size class j. Since Model 4 also explicitly uses the particle size

and kmax,j). Such values are defined for the mineral particles, as a factor, its parameters are alternatively estimated by

while the gangue flotation follows a kinetic constant distri- Equation 20. The resulting models are designated Model 4a

bution identical to Model 5, thus allowing a total of 3n for Equation 19 and Model 4b for Equation 20.

degrees of freedom for this part of the model. The

entrainment mechanisms are modelled as in Models 4 and 5.

ANALYSIS OF THE RESULTS

Calibration of the Six Flotation Models The purpose of the study is to evaluate the ability of flotation

The parameters (Table VII) of the above six models were Models 1 to 6 to properly represent flotation data and predict

calibrated using the data generated by the simulation model. The the effects due to changes in the particle population

data corresponds to a 12 minute semi-batch flotation test from properties. To assess their capability to represent experi-

which 14 measurements have been extracted. More experimental mental data, the performance of the six models, calibrated on

values are taken at the beginning of the experiment when the simulated data in the previous section, will be discussed with

process reaction is faster. The following least squares criterion is respect to concentrate grade and mineral recovery

used for estimating the model parameters: predictions. In order to evaluate their ability to predict the

flotation behaviour as a function of the particle population

2

properties, the reference population is varied as shown in

2

Ê Rm (t ) - Rˆ m (t ) ˆ Ê ˆ ˆ

14 Rg (t ) - Rg (t )

Table IV and the results predicted by the six models are

14

J1 (q ) = Â Á

1 ˜ + Â 1 Á ˜ compared to the pseudo-experimental values obtained

Ë Rm (t ) ¯ Ë Rg (t ) ¯ (19) through the simulation model. Quantitatively, the model

2 performances are evaluated using three interrelated indices:

Ê G(t ) - Gˆ (t ) ˆ

14 the representation index, the prediction index and the

+Â Á 1 ˜ parameter sensitivity index.

Ë G( t ) ¯

The representation index characterizes the aptitude of

where Rm,Rg and R̂m,R̂g are the mineral and gangue recoveries, the model to fit the simulated experimental results. It is

respectively simulated by the reference model and calculated calculated as the mean squared difference between the

by the model to be calibrated, and where G stands for the pseudo-experimental and the calculated results (either grade,

cumulative mineral grade of the concentrate. The calibration mineral or gangue recovery or both grade and mineral

criterion of Equation 19 is applied to Models 1 to 4. For recovery) of the semi-batch tests. The representation index is

Models 5 and 6 where the number of parameters is high, the calculated for the reference population as the average

mineral recoveries are assumed to be available for the deviation of the modeled values from the experimental results

individual size fractions, and, thus, their parameters are and it is expressed in the percentage of the variables used in

estimated by the following least squares criterion

2 Table VIII – Representation index values (%)

14 n

Ê Rm, j (t ) - Rˆ m, j (t ) ˆ

J2 (q ) = J1 (q ) + Â t =1 Â j =1 Á ˜ Model Grade Mineral Gangue Grade

Ë Rm, j (t ) ¯ recovery recovery recovery

2 1 11.7 7.2 24.6 28.2

14 n

Ê Rg, j (t ) - Rˆ g, j (t ) ˆ 2 1.5 3.8 1.9 4.5

+Â t =1 Â j =1 Á ˜ (20)

Ë Rg, j (t ) ¯ 3 0.6 1.9 1.8 2.7

4a 0.9 2.3 1.6 2.9

2

14 n

Ê GJ (t ) - Gˆ j (t ) ˆ 4b 4.7 3.9 12.1 13.6

+Â t =1 Â j =1 Á ˜ 5 6.3 2.1 12.0 13.7

Ë G j (t ) ¯ 6 15.3 5.2 28.9 33.1

388 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

the representation criterion (see results in Table VIII). Figures is completely liberated has a serious impact on the model

8 to 11 also help to assess the representation ability of the six prediction. Figure 12 gives an example of the ability of the

models by showing the time variations of the mineral and models to predict gangue recovery considering, for instance,

gangue recovery, as well as the concentrate grade and the an increase in the mineral grain size. Models that take particle

usual grade recovery curves. size distribution into account show only a slightly better

Table VIII and Figures 8 to 11 show that Model 1 response to particle size variations than models that are size

produces strongly biased results, mainly due to the neglected independent. Again, as in the conclusions of the represen-

particle entrainment which cannot be compensated by an tation ability results, Models 2, 3 and 4a can be considered as

adjustment of the flotation rate. Model 2 corrects this problem, reasonable choices considering the small number of

but does not offer enough flexibility in the flotation kinetics to parameters to be adjusted.

fit the pseudo-experimental results. Models 3 and 4a have The sensitivity index characterizes the variability of the

satisfying representation ability. The calibration criterion used model parameters when the feed particle population is

for Models 4b to 6 does not allow the models to adequately fit disturbed. It is the relative variance of the model parameters

the pseudo-experimental data. The flexibility allowed for calculated simultaneously for all the parameters of a model. It

taking account of the particle size is not sufficient to solve the is calculated either separately for each type of disturbance or

problems related to the inability of all models to fit the for all the disturbances together. Table X gives the sensitivity

behaviour of the unliberated particles, which is characterized index values. It should be sufficiently large to respond to

by the gangue recovery and the concentrate grade. changes of the feed particle properties, but sufficiently small

The prediction index characterizes the ability of the to avoid too high a sensitivity to experimental changes. A

models to react to changes in the feed particle population. The high sensitivity usually means a poor reliability of the model

models are calibrated on the reference population and then used

to predict the flotation results for a disturbed population. To

isolate the ability of the model to predict the trend, the effect of

Ref

its inherent representation performance is removed from the Model 1

Model 2

index. For that purpose, the sum of squared deviations for the Model 3

Model 4a

reference population is subtracted from the sum of squared Model 4b

Model 5

deviations between the predicted results and the pseudo-experi- Model 6

mental results for the disturbed populations. Again, the index is 0.1

Gangue recovery

percentage of the predicted variables. Table IX gives the values

of the prediction indices for the six models. The index is

calculated for each type of disturbance and also jointly for all

the disturbed populations. The prediction error indices are 0.05

relatively small because they have been corrected for the

inherent representation inability of the models.

On an average basis, Table IX shows that the mineral

recovery is reasonably well predicted by all the models.

However, the prediction error is higher for the concentrate 0

0 2 4 6 8 10 12

grade. This is mainly due to the inability of all models to Time (min)

predict the gangue recovery. The problem is related to the

presence of mixed particles of gangue and valuable mineral. Fig. 12. Prediction of the gangue recovery for an increase of the mineral

Since gangue is the dominating phase, the assumption that it grain size.

Table IX – Prediction index values (%) (Rm stands for mineral recovery, Rg for gangue recovery and

G for mineral grade)

Disturbed populations

Model Grade Part. Size Grain size All

Rm Rg G Rm Rg G Rm Rg G Rm Rg G

1 1.6 18.0 8.1 4.3 6.0 4.3 5.7 19.2 8.2 3.9 14.4 6.9

2 0.2 7.4 3.9 4.2 5.2 4.9 4.0 16.1 9.2 2.8 9.6 6.0

3 0.3 7.5 4.0 4.3 5.3 4.9 4.0 16.2 9.3 2.8 9.7 6.1

4a 0.3 7.3 3.8 3.5 15.4 5.3 3.9 16.3 9.4 2.6 13.0 6.2

4b 3.1 12.1 5.9 3.2 8.4 3.2 4.4 17.1 9.1 3.6 12.5 6.1

5 1.2 12.0 5.7 2.2 9.6 3.4 3.7 16.7 9.0 2.4 12.8 6.0

6 1.2 11.9 5.7 2.2 9.5 3.4 3.7 16.9 9.2 2.4 12.8 6.1

ABILITY OF KINETIC FLOTATION MODELS TO SIMULATE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GRINDING AND FLOTATION 389

Table X – Values of the model sensitivity indices (%) some conclusions about the model ability to properly respond

Disturbed populations to changes of particle properties are formulated.

Model The analysis was carried out first by developing a

Grade Part. Size Grain Size All method to generate binary particle population of varying

1 13.3 6.7 15.0 12.7 mineral content, mineral grain size, liberation degree and

2 9.7 9.0 16.1 12.9 particle size and composition distributions and second by

3 8.5 13.5 15.4 14.7 developing a simulator of semi-batch flotation tests using a

4 8.3 14.3 15.2 15.1 particle size dependent and composition dependent flotation

4 8.0 12.0 13.6 13.4 rate constant and a particle entrainment to froth depending on

5 37.3 49.6 55.6 96.6 the particle mass and the bubble load. Then, six flotation

6 36.2 52.9 44.2 77.1 models were evaluated starting from a simple model that does

not consider entrainment up to a model of distributed flotation

rate constants in each size class. The following observations

parameters and consequently a low reliability of the extrap- can be made:

olated results using the flotation models. It is clear from Table 1. Entrainment must be properly modelled since indirect

X that Models 5 and 6 have to be avoided: their parameters modelling through gangue flotation does not predict

are too sensitive and thus not reliable for studies involving accurately gangue recovery and concentrate grade.

extrapolation outside the domain of calibration. 2. Even with a suitable entrainment model, the gangue

It is not easy to compare the results of this study to behaviour is not completely well modelled since usual

previously published papers comparing the performances of flotation models are unable to consider that gangue is floated

various flotation model structures because they were focussed at the same time as mineral due to the associations that exist

on the ability of the models to fit experimental data containing between gangue and mineral in unliberated particles. Since

inherent measurement errors [26,27,52,53]. In the present study, these associations are sensitive to the ore mineral content,

the emphasis is placed upon the structural prediction capability grain size and particle size distributions, the models are not

of the models when submitted to changes in the particle able to predict correctly gangue recovery and thus concentrate

population in the absence of experimental errors. In previously grade.

mentioned papers, the problem was mainly to decide whether 3. Models that account for particle size give slightly better

models with distributed rate constants are better than models results, but require numerous additional parameters which are

involving discrete rate distribution (slow and fast floating quite sensitive to experimental variations and then are not

particles, for instance) for flotation data representation. In the reliable for extrapolation.

paper by Dowling et al. [27], it was concluded that rectangular 4. Entrainment and unliberated particle flotation should be

rate constant distributions are recommended since the considered in a flotation model. However, since both

parameters fitted to the experimental data are statistically phenomena are difficult to track, it is recommended, in the

significant. In the paper of Kelly and Carlson [52], the absence of suitable experimental information, to use parsimo-

conclusions of Dowling et al. [27] were called into question by niously parameterized models such as Model 3.

discussing the relative importance of systematic and random

errors in flotation data representation. In the paper by Polat and

Chander [26], the representation with fast and slow floating APPENDIX A: MINERAL AND GANGUE

particles was clearly found more efficient than a rectangular LIBERATION DEGREES

distributed rate constant. Finally, in the paper by Ferreira et al.

[53], the rate parameters are distributed as two superimposed The fraction of liberated mineral and gangue are given by

Gaussian distributions of rates of flotation. This model was Wiegel and Li [32]

found more efficient for the simulation of circuits than the

models with three or four discrete classes of floatability. As in as for Rj>1

this study, the role of middlings is mentioned as a major problem 3 2

when trying to represent flotation data as if the minerals were

liberated. This may become more critical when simulating £ a, j =

( R - 1) F

j a, j ( ) ( )

+ 3 Rj - 1 Fa2, j + 3 Rj - 1 Fa4, j + Fa8, j (A.1)

flotation circuits with recycling since the contribution of the Fa, j / Rj3

middlings is increased compared to batch experiments.

and for Rj<1

3

Ê 1 ˆ

CONCLUSIONS Á +1˜ log Fa , j

Ë Rj ¯ (A.2)

£a, j = 10

The objective of this study was to analyze, by simulation

methods, the implications of the assumption used in most where a stands for mineral or gangue and Rj is the ratio of the

usual flotation models that minerals are perfectly liberated. average mineral grain size (dm) in the continuous gangue

Methods were developed to assess model performance and matrix to the particle size

390 M. GIRARD, D. HODOUIN and C. BAZIN

Rj = (A.3) classes (ti=0.05, 0.15, 0.25…0.95) and the first class is again

dj discretized into ten classes (ti=0.005, 0.015…0.095) in order

to be able to accommodate for the low content of mineral in

and where the size (dm) is equal to 75 mm in the reference

the ore. The aj is selected and the bj calculated according to

population. From the liberated fractions of mineral and

Equation B.4 in order to represent properly the typical

gangue and their respective grades in the population, the

evolution of the composition distribution from the

distribution of the liberated mineral and gangue particles in

asymmetrical bell shape for coarse particles to the

the size classes (xlib lib

mj, x gj ) can be calculated.

asymmetrical U shape for the fine particles. Subsequently, the

In Equations 6 and 7, Fa,j is the volume fraction of

aj values are slightly corrected in such a way that the

mineral (for the calculation of £m,j) and the volume fraction of

reconstructed mineral content from the discretized

gangue (for the calculation of £g,j) in the size class j. Fm,j and

composition classes is consistent with the value of the mineral

Fg,j can be obtained from

content of the unliberated particles, such that the following

tj constraint is verified

rm

Fm, j =

tj 1- tj ( )

(A.4)

ÂF z

i

ij i = tu , j (B.5)

+

rm rg The values of aj and bj are shown as functions of particle size

in Figure 13.

Fg, j = 1 - Fm, j (A.5)

gangue.

THE COMPOSITE PARTICLES (MIDDLINGS)

particles is constructed using an incomplete Beta function

B(a,b) as suggested by Barbery [33]. The Beta function is

related to the Gamma function G by

G (a )G ( b )

B(a , b ) = (B.1)

G (a + b )

with

•

Fig. 13. Values of the parameters a and b of the Beta function describing

G ( x ) = e - t t x -1adt

Ú (B.2) the composition distribution of the middlings.

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