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SG-02-2022 “Chemical analysis by particle size fractions in flotation feed and tailings”


Deadline 13/04/2022

Closing Time 4:00 pm

To maximize the efficiency of the flotation process, it is important to have previously released the copper in the crushing and milling stages, minimizing the presence of this element in the ultrafine fraction (-15 µm). Currently, for operational control, the Sierra Gorda concentrator plant has a chemical element analyzer (Courier) that determines copper, molybdenum and iron, while for the quantification of the particle size distribution, it has an equipment called PSI, which allows determining the size distribution in the range of 15 to 300 µm.

Identify solutions or technological developments that
allow obtaining chemical analysis by particle size
fractions on-line for feed to flotation cells and tailings
flows. This information will allow a proactive operational
control in case of important changes in the flotation feed
and/or in the tailings, in order to optimize the efficiency of
the process.

The proposed technological solution should consider the
following requirements:
– It is desirable to obtain grades of Cu, Mo and Fe in at
least four size fractions within the range of 15 to 180
– The information delivery must be on-line, with a
sampling of 4 to 5 times in a 12 hour shift and allowing
to obtain results in a maximum time of 20 minutes
after sampling.
– The solution must provide a maximum error of 4% in
the copper determination.
– Minimum maintainability requirements and Heavy Duty
constructability characteristics in the case of sensors
and instruments.
– On-line reporting on the server defined by the client.
– Data storage and transmission capacity; energy
autonomy; transmission protocols; and resistance to
hostile environments (IP67 or similar).
– Comply with Sierra Gorda SCM’s security and
communications standards.

The following will not be considered in the
background evaluation process:
– Advisories, consultancies or engineering
– Proposals that require changes in the design
of equipment and/or structural changes in
the plant.

Currently, the plant’s instrumentation does
not provide timely information on the
distribution of copper by particle size
fractions. Due to this condition, operational
management is not possible in the face of
important changes, both in the quality of the
pulp that enters the flotation and in the
discharged tailings, in order to maximize the
copper released and minimize its presence
in ultrafine fractions (-15 µm).

– Loss of process efficiency.
– Higher production costs (cUS$/lb Cu).


Operational decisions are made with limited
and outdated information on plant feed and
tailings, which does not ensure the optimum
of the process.

Courier (chemical element determination)
and PSI (particle size distribution).