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1. WO2006095325 - ORE BENEFICIATION FLOTATION PROCESSES

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS:

1. A method of optimizing an ore beneficiation flotation process through which a comminuted ore slurry, which includes a sulphide mineral, passes to produce a final flotation concentrate and a final flotation tail, the method including
measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, the final flotation concentrate and the final flotation tail, the locations being based on the potential for the oxygen demand in the locations to be significantly different from each other, which would indicate that sulphide mineral particle oxidation can be manipulated; and
if sulphide mineral particle oxidation can be manipulated, either promoting or suppressing (activating or depressing) flotation of the sulphide mineral by manipulation of sulphide mineral particle oxidation depending on whether or not the sulphide mineral includes a valuable metal which it is desired to recover.

2. The method as claimed in claim 1 , in which measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, final flotation concentrate and final flotation tail includes measuring the oxygen demand of the ore slurry feed, flotation concentrate and/or flotation tail of a flotation stage.

3. The method as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, in which measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, final flotation concentrate and final flotation tail includes measuring the oxygen demand in a discharge ore slurry stream from a main or first comminution stage and/or from a second or later comminution stage.

4. The method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the measured oxygen demands are adjusted to take into account the solids concentration and the iron concentration of the process stream at the locations where the process stream oxygen demand was measured.

5. The method as claimed in claim 4, in which the measured oxygen demands are adjusted by multiplying the measured oxygen demands with a solids concentration adjustment factor and by an iron concentration adjustment factor.

6. The method as claimed in claim 5, in which the solids concentration adjustment factor is a function of the ratio of a reference solids concentration and the actual solids concentration of the process stream, and in which the iron concentration adjustment factor is a function of the ratio of a reference iron concentration and actual iron concentration of the process stream, and the ratio of said reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration of the process stream.

7. The method as claimed in claim 6, in which the iron concentration adjustment factor is the product of the ratio of the reference iron concentration and actual iron concentration and the ratio of the reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration.

8. The method as claimed in claim 6 or claim 7, in which the solids concentration adjustment factor is the ratio of the reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration to a power of between 1.5 and 1.7.

9. The method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which one or more of the measured oxygen demands are adjusted downwardly to take into account the oxygen demand of water present in the process stream.

10. A method of obtaining an indication of whether or not sulphide mineral particle surface oxidation is a significant mechanism in an ore beneficiation flotation process through which a comminuted ore slurry, which includes a sulphide mineral, passes to produce a final flotation concentrate and a final flotation tail, the method including
measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, the final flotation concentrate and the final flotation tail, the locations being selected on the basis that there is potential for the oxygen demand in the locations to be significantly different from each other; and comparing the oxygen demand measurements for significant differences which would indicate that sulphide mineral particle surface oxidation mechanisms are significant contributors to sulphide mineral floatability.

1 1. The method as claimed in claim 10, in which measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, final flotation concentrate and final flotation tail includes measuring the oxygen demand of the ore slurry feed, flotation concentrate and/or flotation tail of a flotation stage.

12. The method as claimed in claim 10 or claim 1 1 , in which measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, final flotation concentrate and final flotation tail includes measuring the oxygen demand in a discharge ore slurry stream from a main or first comminution stage and/or from a second or later comminution stage.

13. The method as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 12 inclusive, in which the measured oxygen demands are adjusted to take into account the solids concentration and the iron concentration of the process stream at the locations where the process stream oxygen demand was measured.

14. The method as claimed in claim 13, in which the measured oxygen demands are adjusted by multiplying the measured oxygen demands with a solids concentration adjustment factor and by an iron concentration adjustment factor.

15. The method as claimed in claim 14, in which the solids concentration adjustment factor is a function of the ratio of a reference solids concentration and the actual solids concentration of the process stream, and in which the iron concentration adjustment factor is a function of the ratio of a reference iron concentration and actual iron concentration of the process stream, and the ratio of said reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration of the process stream.

16. The method as claimed in claim 15, in which the iron concentration adjustment factor is the product of the ratio of the reference iron concentration and actual iron concentration and the ratio of the reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration.

17. The method as claimed in claim 15 or claim 16, in which the solids concentration adjustment factor is the ratio of the reference solids concentration and actual solids concentration to a power of between 1.5 and 1.7.

18. The method as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 17 inclusive, in which one or more of the measured oxygen demands are adjusted downwardly to take into account the oxygen demand of water present in the process stream.

19. A method of determining the extent of sulphide mineral particle surface oxidation in an ore beneficiation flotation process through which a comminuted ore slurry, which includes a sulphide mineral, passes to produce a final flotation concentrate and a final flotation tail, the method including
measuring the oxygen demand in two or more locations in one or more of the ore slurry, the final flotation concentrate and the final flotation tail, the locations being selected on the basis that there is potential for the oxygen demand in the locations to be significantly different from each other; and
comparing the oxygen demand measurements.