By classifying flotation feed at a point where coarse recovery deteriorates, the existing flotation circuit can be optimized to improve performance

It has long been established that copper sulphide processing follows a logical progression — crush, grind, float, regrind and refloat to produce a final copper concentrate. The justification for this approach is well-based as conventional flotation technology has a defined particle size range over which it can effectively recover floatable particles. Work by numerous experts has shown that currently available flotation technology is effective over a size range of approximately 15 to 150 microns. An example of these findings is shown in the well-recognized “elephant curve” (Figure 1). Particles outside this critical size range are typically lost in industrial operations and rejected to tailings streams due to inherent constraints associated with the physical interactions that occur in the pulp and froth phases of conventional flotation equipment.

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