Greenfield flowsheet development faces several challenges: one of these is developing the flowsheet at the same time that the exploration team are still discovering and expanding their strike area and target definition. Another is to focus the laboratory work in such a way that efficient, timely information is produced that advances the flowsheet within the overall project schedule. Once the flowsheet has been prototyped, the all-important variability testing must follow to describe the range of metallurgical responses across the entire mineral resource.
Flowsheets staff have many years of experience in this application (Lotter, 2011), and can manage the laboratory work programme in a way that answers both of these challenges. Use of appropriate mineralogical measurements informs the project as to the nature and processing implications of the minerals that host the paymetals. Thereafter, the flotation testing programme becomes more focussed and efficient (Lotter et al., 2013).
When the flotation testwork gets underway, a set of appropriate quality controls identifies which of the replicate tests are acceptable, and which must be rejected. The outcome is a reliable flowsheet that may be designed with confidence.
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Lotter, N.O., 2011. Modern Process Mineralogy: an Integrated Approach to Flowsheeting, Minerals Engineering, 24, 12, (2011), pp. 1229-1237.
Lotter, N.O., Oliveira, J.F., Hannaford, A.L., and Amos, S.R., 2013. Flowsheet Development for the Kamoa Project – a Case Study, Minerals Engineering, 52, (2013), pp. 8-20.