Outotec Tests and Proves TankCell-300 at Chuquicamata

In recent tests, a single Outotec TankCell-300 flotation cell installed at Codelco’s Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile
outperformed two TankCell-160 cells, providing higher recovery with copper grade equal to the two smaller machines.
Finland-based Outotec recently announced the completion of a joint testing program for its TankCell-300 at Codelco’s Chuquicamata Division in Chile. This follows the installation last year of three of these cells, which are the world’s largest mechanical flotation cells with an active volume of over 300 m3, at OceanaGold’s Macraes operation in New Zealand.

During the program the new cell was tested against the plant’s existing TankCell- 160 units, with an active volume of over 160 m3, which Outotec had installed in 2001. Results were obtained during normal operation of the plant, where feed rate to the cells was 3,600 dry mt/h on average, with a coarseness (P80) of 300 μm and copper content of 0.6%. Process sampling was carried out twice a day, averaging four hours per campaign.

In its initial setup, the single TankCell- 300 was measured to be 3.7% units higher on recovery compared with the two TankCell-160 machines in the parallel bank, while reaching an equal grade of copper in concentrate (averaging 20%). In this setup, the TankCell-300 consumed 205 kW of energy, when adding the consumption of the cell mechanism and the blower together. The specific energy consumption of the cell was 0.66 kW/m3. The same measurement in the TankCell-160 yielded a result of 0.71 kW/m3.

An alternate hydrodynamic setup of the TankCell-300 was also trialled in a continuation of the testing program. During this period, the cells were fed with lower-grade ore (0.49% copper). This setup of the TankCell- 300 further improved the metallurgical results, with over 5% units higher recovery and 1% unit better concentrate grade than in the parallel two TankCell-160 cells. Also the energy consumption was lower at 0.58 kW/m3 (specific) for the TankCell-300.

The larger TankCell did not exhibit sanding or mechanical problems throughout the entire testing program. The cell has subsequently been incorporated into the flotation circuit at Codelco’s Norte Division.

As featured in Womp 09 Vol 05 - www.womp-int.com