Blog: Improve thickener operations by measuring density 2/3

Posted on Friday, 24 January 2020 at 04:01

In a series of blogs we highlight ways to improve the thickening process. Last week we described the importance of water recovery for the mineral processing plant and this week we will focus on investments that help to improve the recovery of valuable minerals.

Mineral recovery is done using the so-called product thickeners. Thickeners are very important to the processing plant, because if the material fed into the thickener is not getting out of its underflow, this leads to less overall metal recovery. First we will explain how product thickeners, in this case concentrate thickeners, operate and then we will highlight the advantages of density measurement for process control.

In concentrate thickeners, the feed usually comes from the flotation circuit. The concept of the flotation process is that desired particles attach to air bubbles and are carried to the surface and removed from the cell, while the particles that are not attached to air bubbles remain in the liquid phase. If the same event occurs in the thickener tank, foam could carry valuable materials into the overflow. When these valuable materials are not recovered, this will lead to a lower overall recovery of concentrator metal at the processing plant. This event can also lead to extra reagent costs, damage to pumps and valves and costs for cleaning process water tanks where the solids could eventually deposit.