Flash flotation plays an integral role in many of the gold and sulfide mineral concentrators around the world, and yet despite this widespread use, very little information on this unit process is available in the published literature. For operations to maximise the performance of their flash flotation circuits, understanding how these cells operate, the nature of the particles they target and how to predict whether a flash flotation cell should be used on a specific ore type is of vital importance. This paper provides a summary of the key findings of a large flash flotation research project based in the operating environment of a refractory gold concentrator. The influence of key flotation performance criteria including gas dispersion, residence time and particle segregation within the cell will be discussed and recommendations for process improvements will be made throughout. The nature of the particles within the flash cell will be examined, as will the impact on the type of particles that are passed to downstream processes when the flash flotation cell is taken off-line. The development of a laboratory method to determine whether an ore is suitable to undergo the flash flotation process is also presented for its potential to aid in flow sheet development and optimisation for new ores.
Newcombe, B, Bradshaw, D J and Wightman, E M,
2012. Into the belly of the flash … Insights into the mechanisms at work within
a flash flotation cell, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill Operators’
Conference, pp 163-170 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).