Outokumpu Technology has won yet another major order for First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM) Frontier copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this time for advanced high rate thickening and high-efficiency flotation technology.
The contract for SUPAFLO thickeners, a SkimAir 500 unit and TankCell flotation cells, follows a worldwide string of successes earlier this year, including a 32 ft diameter, 20 ft long SAG mill with 12,000kW of installed power – again at Frontier. Frontier’s trunnion-supported SAG mill is one of the largest dual pinion variable speed drives for a SAG mill in the world.
As with the mills, the new floats and thickeners will be compatible with the same advanced and proven Outokumpu Technology design as those in FQM’s nearby Kansanshi copper and gold mine in Zambia, where last year Outokumpu Technology delivered a second technology package for that project.
The new Frontier order also incorporates the same flash flotation SkimAir technology now in operation at Kansanshi, where its performance has confirmed its industry reputation as a profit enhancer in the grinding circuit, significantly increasing plant recovery and grade. SkimAir technology improves overall recoveries by liberating easy floating particles from cyclone classifier sands to produce part of the final concentrate, thereby eliminating over-grinding and minimising losses in the fines.
At Frontier, the flash flotation installation will feature as a two-stage process, with the SkimAir employed for Flash Roughing and a TankCell for cleaning the concentrate. This two-stage process, already in operation at Kansanshi, Telfer and Cadia, amongst others, is said to be delivering impressive results.
TankCell 30s and 16s will be used for cleaning duties in Frontier’s flotation circuit. TankCell technology is a customised design and is a renowned market leader with benefits such as fast startup under full load, easy operation and ability to run without sanding, automatic air control, optimum bubble size, air dispersion independent of mixing and optimised power draw.
Frontier’s thickening solution comprises one 36m and one 25m SUPAFLO thickener. SUPAFLO thickener designs include a number of innovative features, with special attention given to engineering of feedwells, rake profiles, drive systems and control strategies to meet the challenge of dewatering materials that are often problematic for normal thickeners.
Outokumpu Technology in Australia will be responsible for design and supply of the technology, scheduled for completion by the end of this year, while Outokumpu Technology’s South African office will manage local fabrication.