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Turnkey on-stream slurry analysis system

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article image The Perilya lead, zinc, and silver mine at Broken Hill.

ONE of the world's most advanced on-stream slurry analysers is to be installed by Outokumpu Technology at Perilya Ltd's Broken Hill lead, zinc, and silver mine.

The Courier 6 SL elemental analyser system is part of a turnkey package of analysis, automation, and sampling technology designed to optimise recoveries and concentrate quality.

It will also save costs, time and valuable labour at the mine -- one of the country's largest lead, zinc, and silver operations.

Benefits will include improved process control and assay efficiency and also greater reliability compared with existing older systems, which require continual maintenance to ensure operability, explains Outokumpu Technology's Service Centre manager in Australia, Jason King.

Perilya currently produces about two million tonnes of ore a year at the historic Broken Hill orebody, one of the foundations of the Australian mining industry that has produced more than 200 million tonnes of ore since mining commenced in 1885.

Since acquiring the mine three years ago, Perilya Ltd has made significant improvements in the operations, including underground equipment replacement and optimisation of its concentrator.

The state-of-the-art Courier 6 SL system - which includes metallurgical and primary samplers, sample drying system, sample pumps, piping, platforms and electrical and mechanical installations - will replace the existing and increasingly ageing analyser system at Perilya.

Jason King said the new system was designed to further extend the mine's efficiency gains, while also being simpler and faster to operate.

"This turnkey automation and analysis system is a great endorsement of our technology and people,” he said.

“The strength and scale of our solutions is reflected in the fact that we have already successfully provided Perilya with float technology in the past. This latest turnkey package will deliver major production benefits and cost efficiencies.

"While the project is still in its infancy, it is progressing smoothly because of the collaborative efforts of Perilya and Outokumpu Technology. This partnership approach will ensure that project challenges which arise will be met with enthusiasm and dedication," he added.

Outokumpu Technology's Eric Hendrix, one of the managers on the Perilya project, explains that the turnkey system includes full design, removal of existing equipment, and installation of the Courier 6 SL and all peripheral works, such as piping, sample pumps and all associated structural and mechanical works. Electrical installation also forms an important part of the project scope.

A spokesperson from Perilya said safety, efficiency gains and simplicity were important considerations in the introduction of a new system, which could reduce the number of radiation sources on-site, thus minimising risk and reducing the regulatory burden.

"Electronic X-ray production facilitates higher count rates than those possible with typical radioisotopes. This translates into improved instrument sensitivity. Also, no additional reagents are required (eg, liquid nitrogen). This eliminates the introduction of a hazard on-site," the spokesperson said.

The Courier 6 SL analyser system is the highest performance model in a new generation of real time on-stream elemental slurry analysers. They enable quick and accurate analysis and maximise process efficiency.

Based on the same high performance wavelength dispersive XRF technology as used in laboratories, the Courier 6 SL offers the best sensitivity and short cycle time for process management, monitoring and control.

Sampling, analysis and sample return are fully automatic, do not require operator attendance and are automatically done in the same consistent way around the clock.

This creates savings in assaying costs and metallurgical sampling. Concentrate recoveries are also better, as process upsets are detected and solved rapidly. Plant operation is optimized with less circulating loads, resulting in higher throughput.

Installation of the turnkey system - to be completed by early 2007 - will be managed by Outokumpu Technology's Service Centre in Australia.

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