The production at First Quantum Minerals' (FQM) Kevitsa Mine, located in northern Finland, commenced during the second quarter of 2012. Presently, the mine processes approximately five and half million tonnes of ore annually, producing nickel, copper and platinum group metal (PGM) concentrates. In order to support fast production ramp-up and optimise the performance of flotation thereafter, an extensive advanced flotation control solution was implemented by Outotec in collaboration with FQM Kevitsa.
In addition to basic process instrumentation and process control, each of the 14 Outotec 300 m3 and another 26 cells, ranging from 20–160 m3, have been equipped with state-of-the-art systems providing froth image analysis and automatic froth speed control. Also, the flotation cell levels are stabilised with advanced feed-forward level control.
The online analyser provides key feedback information of the process performance for the advanced process control (APC) system. Based on this information, APC system defines grades and recoveries according to rules defined by Kevitsa process metallurgists. This system executes the control strategies for optimising the production of concentrates.
Throughout the implementation and support phases, specific and intensive attention was paid to ensure plant personnel gained full understanding of interacting with the system and how to incorporate their process experience and skills to optimise the APC strategy. This level of expertise is also a valuable asset in understanding the APC system's contribution to the overall performance of the plant as well as providing the ability and confidence to define key performance indicators used for continuous assessment. The experiences and results from site achieved so far are discussed in this paper.
Rantala, A, Muzinda, I, Timperi,
J, Cruickshank, C and Haavisto, O, 2014. Implementation of advanced flotation
control at First Quantum Minerals' Kevitsa mine, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM
Mill Operators' Conference 2014 , pp 369–378 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).