Northparkes Mines commenced production in 1994 and the mine has significant reserves to allow operation into the future. There are a number of potential future concentrator feed sources with variable sulfide mineralogy and grades.
In February 2012 a comprehensive flotation survey was conducted to allow mass balancing and evaluate the operation of the flotation circuit. A rudimentary, copper element only, unsized flotation simulator was developed to evaluate high level potential for optimisation and improvement. In 2013 this flotation model was expanded to produce a mineral based, floatability component model to estimate the effect of future concentrator feed source on metallurgical performance. This revised model allows various circuit configurations to be simulated to provide a high level blueprint for the long-term planning to maximise performance.
This paper provides a review of the process followed to develop the model, including an analysis into the mineral floatability component model and its calibration against plant operations. The effect of varying feed mineralogy and feed quality on future performance has allowed an internal review of potential circuit changes needed to accommodate the changing future feed.
Clarke, D, Harbort, G, Morgan, D
and Sola, C, 2014. Northparkes Mines – flotation and planning for the future, in
Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2014 , pp 203–208 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).