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Flotation process is the common copper ore dressing method. This paper will introduce the copper flotation process of a copper ore dressing plant in Shanxi province.
At present, the proved reserves and inferred reserves of this mine is up to 4 million tons. Generally, boundary grade of copper ore is 1.5%, but the copper ore grade of this plant is up to 2.33%. Besides, there are also more than 4.4 million tons of possible reserves, and the copper ore content reaches 2.25%. This deposit occurs in the skarn formed by pendant formation of Palaeozoic sedimentary rock. And the sedimentary rock near to the contact zone has metamorphosed into calcium magnesium silicate and magnetite. The main copper minerals are copper pyrites at the lower part of the deposit. And the content of bornite and chalcocite are increased at the upper part. Besides, there are10-30% magnetite, which is easy to be separated into magnetite concentrate from tailings. However, the full potential and economic impact of magnetite production has not been fully evaluated.
The reason why this plant adopts flotation column is that the initial cost of flotation column is much lower, each flotation column is about $35000. Besides, this deposit is located in the mountainside, so flotation column covers the smaller area. Compared with the mechanical flotation cell, flotation column is featured with simple operate, low cost of maintenance, less flotation reagents. What's more, this plant is located in remote areas. The whole plant is equipped with few operators, including a crusher operator, grinder operator and a shift foreman, every person is on duty for 48 hours steadily, then take four days off. An electrician and mechanical installer are responsible for all repair and maintenance during 12-hour period. Originally this plant adopted a pair of tank flotation column technology to produce the final high-quality copper, gold and silver concentrate. Unlike conventional methods, the first flotation column was used for roughing and cleaning. In the early operation process, the stacked and newly discovered ore was processed at the same time, so the grade of copper concentrate was between 28% and 32%, which was lower than the grade determined by the experiment. But the operating time of this project is short, the ore quality was different and lack of fine-tuning, so the result was still reasonable.
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