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On-line mineralogical characterization in concentrator plant


Deadline 11/04/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

Currently, Caserones Mine concentrator plant processes more than 4,000 tons per hour of sulfide ore with an average grade of 0.36 % of total copper to produce between 110,000 and 180,000 tons per year of copper in concentrate. The ore that feeds this plant comes from the mine and from available stocks, which presents considerable variability in terms of mineralogy, with fluctuations in the content of copper sulfides and oxides, pyrite, clays and other species. This condition generates impacts on the flotation-thickening process and, therefore, requires the application of adjustments in the operational strategy to avoid adverse effects on copper production.

Technological solutions are sought to identify and quantify the mineralogical species present in both the ore and gangue that feed the concentrator plant. The solutions must provide on-line information on the mineralogical composition of primary and secondary copper sulfides, oxides and clays, among others.

  • The information shall be available on-line in the control room or wherever the customer indicates, within a maximum time of 1 hour from the taking or measurement of the sample.
  • They can be applied both in the feed and in the discharge of the milling process. In the case of pulps, it will be possible to use samples taken by the Courier analyzers existing in the plant.
  • The data must be representative of the whole ore to be processed. Isolated or punctual measurements are not enough
  • It must provide precision, ranges and detection limits for the identified species.
  • It must consider a low maintenance requirement, with a minimum availability of 90%.
  • A high level of automation is desirable, so it should consider minimal or no human intervention during measurements.
  • Heavy duty characteristics, with high resistance to adverse environmental and climatic conditions such as low temperatures, wind, fog, rain, snow, humidity, particulate material, mineral projection and blows, among others.
  • e4It must be compatible with the infrastructure available at Caserones Mine and must not generate operational interferences for its installation, operation and maintenance.

The minerals that feed the concentrator plant have a variable mineralogy, with changes in the content of copper sulfides and oxides, pyrite, clays and insolubles, among others.

  • Changes in important variables such as higher lime consumption, lower copper recovery, higher reagent consumption, variability in copper grade and impurity content in the concentrate, among the most important.
  • Operational instability in grinding, flotation and thickening.
  • Production losses.

Eventually and unexpectedly.

  • Courier analyzers only provide on-line information on the chemical element content of the feed and flotation tails.
  • Mineralogical analysis with electron microscopy (QEMSCAN) and XRD in the laboratory.

On-line mineralogy analyzers have not been tested.

As part of the background evaluation process, the following will not be considered:

  • Solutions that significantly modify the plant infrastructure.
  • Solutions that generate changes in the process flowsheet or affect operational continuity.
  • Advisories, consultancies or engineering studies.

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