Design of a continuous pilot-scale deslime thickener

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Copyright 2017, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. Thickening is used during two primary mineral processing operations: Water removal and desliming. During water removal, the pulp density is increased through the injection of flocculants. These flocs settle and create a dense pulp while clarified water is removed through the overflow. During desliming, fine particles are removed through the overflow. Desliming can also be used as a mineral separation process known as selective flocculation-dispersion, where valuable minerals are flocculated and gangue minerals remain dispersed and exit through the overflow. There are many ways to analyze thickener performance on a laboratory scale, but these analyses often do not correlate well with full-scale performance. Some pilot-scale systems have been designed using a semicontinuous approach, but the amount of material required to perform their tests can make semicontinuous pilot thickeners impractical for most applications. This paper focuses on the design and optimization of a continuous pilot-scale deslime thickener that requires minimal material to operate. The design, optimization strategy, and an example study of reagent selection are demonstrated.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing