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High-confidence flotation testing at Xstrata Process Support

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 47-54

Lotter, N.O.; Fragomeni, D.


The reliability of a set of flotation results is key to minimizing project risk, either at the commissioning of a concentrator or at the point of implementing an improvement to an existing concentrator operation. High-confidence flotation testing (HCFT) was developed for this purpose and is part of the list of technologies at various scales used by Xstrata Process Support (XPS) in addressing these projects. The methodology is based on two principles: one, to ensure that the ore sample is representative and has been well-blended and subsampled; two, to perform the flotation tests in sufficient numbers of replicates with appropriate quality controls, so as to improve the reproducibility of the test data. Across ten years of research on this methodology at Xstrata Process Support, Sudbury, several improvements to the HCFT method and complementary connections between sampling and quantitative mineralogy have been developed. Two case studies are reviewed. These show the capability of this system in both optimizing an existing concentrator operation and in serving a new mine scenario. Further work to improve the efficiency of this procedure has been identified.