Blog: Measuring density in the flotation process (1/4)

Posted on Friday, 15 May 2020 at 16:57

Are you looking for a higher recovery rate in the Flotation process by means of automation and instrumentation? This first blog describes the purposes and benefits of measuring density at different applications in froth flotation. First, the froth flotation process itself and control purposes are explained, then the first (of five) key reason for measuring density will be given.

A full optimization for a maximum recovery in the flotation process can only be achieved when a novel of instruments and analyzers are used together, such as density gauges, level gauges, flow meters, froth cameras, etc. This blog will show the importance of the Density meter, which is Rhosonics' area of expertise.

The froth flotation process

In previous process stages fine particles were created and valuable minerals were released from their carriers, also called the gangue. In general, flotation is used to separate and recover. The valuables are concentrated and separated from unwanted (gangue) particles.

This is done using chemicals and froth. Basically, this process exploits differences in surface properties between minerals and gangues. The froth flotation principle is a complex combination of the laws of surface chemistry, crystallography and physics. The process efficiency depends on aspects such as density, electrical conductivity and physical and chemical properties. Without a flotation process, many metals and inorganic raw materials would be extremely scarce and expensive, as there are currently not many high-grade deposits that could be processed by simple physical and mechanical methods.

Purpose of process control

The main objectives when controlling the flotation process is to maximize the quality of the throughput. An enriched product is created by decreasing the amount of gangue. To achieve these objectives the slurry needs to be continuously monitored and controlled, allowing process stabilization and ensuring optimal flotation conditions.

Measuring points

In the flotation cell, there are several possible installation points for density meters. For example in the feed slurry and tailings. Please check the overview of measuring points in the figure below.

The flotation cell overview of measuring applications

Why density measurement?

Instruments, such as density meters help the process personnel and operators to efficiently monitor and control the flotation process, optimize it and prevent process failures. When used together with an advanced control system, density readings allow to automatically control valves, pumps and help to have an efficient chemical or air dosing, resulting in the improvement of the process that can lead to a higher enrichment and recovery of the desired mineral.

Measuring flotation feed

The density measurement in the flotation feed is a known installation point in mineral processing plants, and it is very important for the mass balance. The combination of a density meter and a flow meter in the flotation feed and line of the final product of the flotation, not only allow for a mass balance calculation, but also for the calculation of the efficiency of the circuit.

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Tags: Slurry Density Meter, Non Nuclear Density Meter, Density meters, Flotation feed