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BASIC DESIGN PROBLEMS FOR

A LARGE CONCENTRATOR

W a y n e D Gould
M e t a l l u r g ~ c a l Superintendent
M l a m l Operations

M l a m ~ ,Arlzona
75-8-78

1.
P l a n n i n g f o r a p r o j e c t d o e s n o t s t a r t w i t h t h e announcement o f
the approval f o r a p r o j e c t . P l a n n i n g a c t u a l l y b e g i n s when t h e
p r o j e c t i s o n l y a p r o s p e c t and i t i n v o l v e s t h e y e a r s of e x p e r i e n c e
o f many p e o p l e b e c a u s e t h e i r e x p e r t i s e i n f l u e n c e s t h e f i n a l decisions.

I n p a r t l a l a n t i c i p a t i o n o f t h e P i n t o V a l l e y p r o j e c t , a s well a s
a s e a r c h f o r improvement i n t h e Copper C i t i e s o p e r a t i o n , t w o p r o j e c t s

were u n d e r t a k e n . The f i r s t p r o j e c t was t o s u b s t i t u t e one 26" c y c l o n e


f o r t h r e e 20%' c y c l o n e s i n t h e s i n g l e s t a g e g r i n d i n g c l r c u l t . The
s e c o n d p r o j e c t was t o r e p l a c e t h e Hunt a i r f l o t a t i o n c e l l s w l t h 300
c u b i c f o o t mechanical c e l l s . The 300 c u b i c f o o t c e l l s were j u s t
b e i n g i n t r o d u c e d , c o n s e q u e n t l y two t y p e s o f c e l l s were s e l e c t e d f o r
testing. The r e s u l t s from b o t h p r o j e c t s influenced t h e d r c l s l o n s on
equipment f o r t h e P i n t o V a l l e y p r o j e c t .
The f i r s t s t e p on a p r o j e c t i s t o l a y o u t t h e g e n e r a l c r l t e r l a :
Primary Crushing
Daily feed r a t e
O p e r a t i n g h o u r s p e r day
Operating days p e r y e a r

Feed s i z e
P r o d u c t sizc
Coarse Ore Storage
Live s t o r a g e
Total storage
Fine Crushing
Daily feed r a t e

O p e r a t i n g h o u r s p e r day
Operating days p e r y e a r
Feed s i z e
Product s i z e
F i n e Ore S t o r a g e
Live s t o r a g e
Total storage
Concentrator
Ilourly f e e d r a t e
Yearly feed
Service factor
Feed s i z e
Product s i z e
Work i n d e x
Grinding energy p e r t o n
Speed o f g r i n d i n g u n i t
C l a s s i f i c a t i o n method
Rougher f e e d % s o l i d s
Rougher f l o t a t i o n t i m e min.
Rougher f l o t a t i o n t i m e d e s i g n
Regrind c i r c u i t p r o d u c t
Speed o f r e g r i n d u n i t
Cleaner c i r c u i t feed
~ l e a n k ? f l o t a t i o n t i m e , min.
Cleaner f l o t a t i o n time, design
R e c l e a n e r f l o t a t i o n t i m e , min.
Recleaner f l o t a t i o n time, design
S c a v e n g e r f l o t a t i o n t i m e , min.
Scavenger f l o t a t i o n time, design
Thickener
T a i l i n g s t h i c k e n e r underflow % s o l i d s
T a i l i n g s t h i c k e n e r d e s i g n a r e a / t o n / Z 4 hrs.
Copper-Moly t h i c k e n e r f e e d % s o l i d s
3.
Copper-Moly thickener underflow % solids
Copper-Moly thickener area/ton/24 hrs.
Copper thickener feed % solids
Copper thickener underflow % solids
Copper thickener area/ton/24 hrs.
Copper filter cake % H20
Copper filter loading - lbs./sq.ft./24 hrs. max.
Copper filter loading - lbs,/sq.ft./24 hrs. design
Copper Slurry Pipeline
Slurry pipeline daily tonnage
Slurry pipeline length
Slurry pipeline % solids pumped
Slurry pipeline feet/sec.
Control Criteria
Local-start-stop of equipment or remate start-stop
from a control roam
Electrical or pneumatic actuations
Manual or automatic set points
Analog or digital instruments
Human or computer optimization
A t this point i t is realized that m a t e r i a l handling is t h e
basic problem for a large concentrator. A 40,000 ton per day plant

requires the processing of nearly 2 8 tons per rn~nuteof ore with the
use of 20,000 gallons of water per minute. The combined pulp flow
is a stream 36" in diameter by 425' long. Planning should therefore
minimize the lifting of material, minimize the distance between
steps in the process and use the highest possible pulp density I n
every step following the introduction of water.
The major construction c o s t s can be roughly broken down into:
4.
(1) equipment costs
(2) site preparation
(3) concrete - foundations, footings, retaining walls
(4) steel - buildings, conveyor supports
(5) utllity distribution - power, water, etc. -
(6) water development and storage
iI
(7) taillngs disposal
E
The relative percentages of each will vary from project to project.
Equipment costs are definitely controllable and it is not necessarily
good economics to select the cheapest piece of equipment. The best
economics 1s to select proven equipment. Site preparation is con-
trollable within llmits of belng able to select the site. Items 3,
4 and 5 are definitely controllable and should have the major
plannlng effort. Thls is not to say that the other items should not
recelve careful conslderation.
The next set of crlterla then becomes:
(a) Effect of size of individual pieces of equipment
(1) Large pieces reduce numbers
(2) Large pieces reduce building size which affects
structural steel requirements, concrete
footings and wiring runs
(b) Effect of placement of equipment between steps as to
elevation and horizontal distance
(1) Power is required to move material, consequently
movement should be minimized in both hori-
zontal and vertical directions
(2) Wire lengths can be reduced
(3) Air and water pipe lengths can be reduced
(4) Liner requirements and consequently wear can be

!
I
5.
reduced by keeping b i n s small
(5) Loadlng p o i n t s should have c a r e f u l s t u d y

(6) Pipe s i z e s and flow r a t e s a r e a f f e c t e d by h o r i -


z o n t a l and vertical d i s t a n c e s
(7) Bln s i z e a f f e c t v e r t i c a l l i f t s
(8) Noise can be c r i t i c a l i n b i n s
(9) Pump s i z e s a r e a f f e c t e d b y l i f t and h o r i z o n t a l
dls?ances

(c) E f f e c t of s p a c i n g between similar p i e c e s o f equipmenr:


(I) Conveyor b e l t l e n g t h s

(2) Conduit and wirxng l e n g t h s


(3) Duct work l e n g t h
(4) Water and a i r p l p e l e n g t h
(5) Building s i z e
(6) Cubic y a r d o f c o n c r e t e
(d) Effect of stockpile size:
(1) Number o f w i t h d r a w f e e d e r s
(2) S i z e o f f e e d e r chamber
(3) Cubic yards o f concrete
(e) Reclaim t u n n e l c o n s t r u c t i o n
(1) Concrete
(2) CMP
(f) Cubic y a r d s of c o n c r e t e
[g) Tons of s t e e l
The primary c r u s h e r i s b a s i c a l l y a s t r u c t u r e which i s i n
fluenced by t h e s i z e of t h e dump p o c k e t , the s i z e of t h e crushed o r e
s t o r a g e beneath t h e c r u s h e r , t h s working c l e a r a n c e around the equip-
ment and t h e u s e of a g r i z z l y t o remove u n d e r s i z e m a t e r i a l ahead of

the crusher. Each item should be examined and j u s t i f i e d b y economic


6.
considerations. The p r i m a r y c r u s h e r c a p a c i t y i s o n l y s l i g h t l y
aff'ected by t h e u n d e r s i z e i n t h e mine r u n o f o r e . I f t h i s i s the

c a s e , why p r o v i d e t h e s t r u c t u r e t o b y - p a s s t h e c r u s h e r w i t h t h i s
portion of ore? Few m i n e s p r o v i d e s u f f i c i e n t numbers o f t r u c k s t o
keep t h e p r i m a r y c r u s h e r b u r i e d , c o n s e q u e n t l y t h e s l i g h t l o s s i n
capacity i s meaningless. The dump p o c k e t n e e d s t o b e no l a r g e r t h a n
t o a c c e p t one t r u c k l o a d o f o r e s i n c e t h e c r u s h e r c a p a c i t y i s n o t

i n c r e a s e d a m e a n i n g f u l amount by i n c r e a s i n g t h e o r e o n t o p o f t h e
crusher. The s i z e o f t h e c r u s h e d o r e p o c k e t u n d e r t h e c r u s h e r h a s a
d e f i n i t e r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e s i z e o f t h e b e l t n e e d e d t o remove t h e
p r o d u c t a s f a s t a s d e l i v e r e d by t h e mine o r c r u s h e d . Delivery r a t e
and c r u s h i n g r a t e may b e v e r y d i f f e r e n t . The p r i m a r y c r u s h e r
s t r u c t u r e s h o u l d p r o v i d e work room a r o u n d t h e e q u i p m e n t b u t n o t

e x c e s s i v e room.

P i n t o Valley s e l e c t e d f o r t h e primary c r u s h e r a 60 x 89 T r a y l o r
crusher. A s t u d y was made o n t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of two 56" c r u s h e r s a s

a n a l t e r n a t e t o one c r u s h e r . The f l e x i b i l i t y o f f e r e d by two


c r u s h e r s was a t t r a c t i v e ; however, t h e c o s t was h i g h e r . The 60"
c r u s h e r would a l s o h a n d l e l a r g e r p i e c e s o f o r e . With 1 5 a n d 2 0 y a r d
s h o v e l s , i t was t o b e e x p e c t e d t h a t l a r g e p i e c e s would a r r i v e a t t h e
crusher. The d e c i s i o n t o i n s t a l l one c r u s h e r was t h e r e f o r e b a s e d o n

economics and p r a c t i c a l o p e r a t i n g e x p e c t a t i o n s .
I t i s common p r a c t i c e t o p l a c e s e c o n d a r y a n d t e r t i a r y c r u s h e r s
i n l i n e i n one b u i l d i n g . The c r u s h e r f o u n d a t i o n s a r e f i x e d i n s i z e
s o t h e p o i n t s t o w a t c h a r e e q u i p m e n t s p a c i n g and l i f t f o r t e r t i a r y
feed. The s p a c i n g o f c r u s h e r s a f f e c t b u i l d i n g s i z e s o s h o u l d b e '

enough t o a l l o w work room a r o u n d t h e c r u s h e r s a n d no more. The f e e d


p o i n t t o a s e c o n d a r y o r t e r t i a r y c r u s h e r s h o u l d o n l y b e h i g h enough
above t h e c r u s h e r t o a l l o w f e e d d i s t r i b u t i o n . Any g r e a t e r h e i g h t
adds t o t h e b u i l d i n g h e i g h t , t o t h e L i f t on conveyor b e l t s , and t o
t h e n o i s e l e v e l s i n c e a b i n must be p r o v i d e d between c r u s h e r and
feed point. Large b i n s over secondary o r t e r t i a r y c r u s h e r s buys
nothing f o r b e t t e r operations. S c r e e n s p l a c e d under t h e c r u s h e r s
reduce t h e c i r c u l a t i n g l o a d t o t h e t e r t i a r y s r u s h e r s and consequently
t h e power c o s t s ; however, t h e r e i s a d e f i n i t e l i m i t t o t h e s i z e o f
s c r e e n t h a t can be used. A s e p a r a t e s c r e e n house from t h e c r u s h e r s
has t h e a d v a n t a g e s , [ I ) t h a t a screen is not t i e d t o a crusher,
( 2 ) c a p a c i t y c a n e a s i l y be i n c r e a s e d and ( 3 ) t h e s c r e e n s a c t a s

cross-over b e l t s . Quite often screening capacity i s the limlting


factor i n a crushing plant. The d i s a d v a n t a g e s w i t h a s e p a r a t e
s c r e e n house i s t h e added c o s t of c o n s t r u c t i o n and t h e e x t r a h e i g h t
needed. S c r e e n s placed ahead o f t h e c r u s h e r s a l l o w s f o r t h e u s e of
l a r g e r s c r e e n s t h a n a r e p o s s i b l e f o r s c r e e n s unaer t h e c r u s h e r s .
The o r e must b e - t r a n s p o r t e d between s t e p s i n t h e p r o c e s s as
e i t h e r d r y s o l i d s on b e l t s o r a s s l u r r y i n p i p e l i n e s . Length, width
and l i f t of conveyor b e l t s a l l c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e c o s t of a f a c i l i t y .
I n p a r t i c u l a r , i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o minimize l i f t between s t e p s a s
w e l l a s w i t h i n s t e p s by e i t h e r conveyor b e l t s o r a s s l u r r y i n p i p e -
lines. I n g e n e r a l t h e r e i s p r o b a b l y a tendency t o i n s t a l l conveyor
b e l t s narrower t h a n j u s t i f i e d , Narrow h i g h speed b e l t s a r e
e f f i c i e n t movers o f o r e b u t d i f f i c u l t t o l o a d and m a i n t a i n f r e e
from s p i l l a g e . Loading s t a t i o n s on b e l t s a p p e a r t o be a new world
w i t h each new d e s i g n job, In p a r t i c u l a r , l o a d i n g s t a t i o n s on b e l t s
a t r i g h t a n g l e s t o each o t h e r do n o t approach being s t a n d a r d i z e d ,
The d e c i s i o n was made t o go w i t h 7 f o o t s t a n d a r d and s h o r t h e a d
Nordberg c r u s h e r s . T h i s d e c i s i o n was n o t made on t h e b a s i s o f t h e

l o w e s t i n i t i a l c o s t b u t r a t h e r on t h e y e a r s of e x p e r i e n c e o p e r a t i n g
Nordberg c r u s h e r s .
8.

Screens a r e o f t e n t h e bottleneck i n a crushing p l a n t , conse-


quently t h e l a r g e s t p r a c t i c a l s c r e e n s were s e l e c t e d . The s e l e c t i o n

was n o t made o n p r i c e , b u t r a t h e r p r i c e a n d t h e r e p u t a t i o n o f t h e
manufacturer i n t h e mining i n d u s t r y .
The f i n e o r e s t o r a g e s h o u l d b e a s c l o s e a s p o s s i b l e t o t h e
ballmills. This reduces t h e l e n g t h o f conveyor b e l t s and a s s o c i a t e d
power a n d c o n t r o l s y s t e m s w i r e .
The s i z e o f t h e s t o c k p i l e i s i m p o r t a n t t o i n i t i a l c o s t s . The
s i z e of t h e f i n e o r e s t o c k p i l e could be reduced i f high r e l i a b i l i t y

i s b u i l t i n t o t h e f i n e crushing plant. With s i n g l e c o n v e y o r b e l t s

between s t e p s i t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e a s t o how much r e l i a b i l i t y c a n b e


b u i l t i n t o t h e system. For i n s t a n c e a p r o d u c t i o n l o s s o f e i g h t
h o u r s i n t h e b a l l m i l l s would p a y f o r many t o n s o f f i n e o r e s t o r a g e .
The b a l l m i l l s , l i k e a l l p i e c e s o f d u p l i c a t e equipment, should
be s p a c e d a s c l o s e a s p r a c t i c a l w i t h o u t s a c r i f i c i n g r e p a i r w o r k i n g
room. Over t h e y e a r s t h e s i z e o f b a l l m i l l s h a s b e e n i n c r e a s i n g a s
t h e tonnages ground has i n c r e a s e d . The number o f u n i t s s e l e c t e d t o

g r i n d a f i x e d t o n n a g e w i l l h a v e a v e r y i m p o r t a n t e f f e c t on t h e
i n i t i a l costs. The s e l e c t i o n o f l a r g e u n i t s w i l l r e d u c e t h e b u i l d i n g
s i z e , t h e c r a n e span, t h e e l e c t r i c w i r e r u n s , t h e w a t e r and a i r
piping, etc. The economics o f i n i t i a l c o s t a l l f a v o r t h e i n s t a l l a -
t i o n of l a r g e u n i t s . One a r g u m e n t u s e d a g a i n s t l a r g e u n i t s i s t h e
p e r c e n t a g e l o s s i n c a p a c i t y w i t h t h e l o s s o f one u n i t . This i s a
d e b a t a b l e c l a i m s i n c e t h e volume o f a m i l l i n c r e a s e s w i t h t h e

s q u a r e o f t h e r a d i u s w h i l e t h e s u r f a c e i n c r e a s e s a s t h e f i r s t power
of the radius. I n o t h e r words t h e number o f s h e l l l i n e r s p e r t o n '

of c a p a c i t y d e c r e a s e w i t h i n c r e a s e d d i a m e t e r o f b a l l m i l l s . The t o n s
of l o s t capacity f o r l i n e r replacement of a l a r g e m i l l should be
l e s s t h a n f o r two b a l l m i l l s o f e q u a l c a p a c i t y b e c a u s e t h e r e a r e
9.

f e w e r l i n e r s t o h a n d l e and t h e work room i s g r e a t e r f o r l a r g e

d i a m e t e r mills. A n o t h e r a d v a n t a g e t o l a r g e mills i s t h a t more


g r i n d i n g i s done between b a l l s and n o t between b a l l s and s h e l l
liners.
P i n t o V a l l e y s e l e c t e d s i x 1 8 ' x 21' s i n g l e s t a g e b a l l m i l l s t o
g r i n d 40,000 t o n s p e r day from minus l f 2 i n c h f e e d . The b a l l m i l l s
a r e i n c l o s e d c i r c u i t w i t h a 14 x 1 2 Warman pump and 8 - 26" l\'emco
cyclones. A minimum amount o f work h a s been done on t h e s y s t e m t o

t h e p r e s e n t t i m e ; however, t h e m i l l s have been o p e r a t i n g a t a r a t e


o f 50,000 t o n s p e r day w i t h f i v e c y c l o n e s I n u s e . A f t e r 500,000
t o n s t h e s h e l l l i n e r s showed v e r y l i t t l e wear. The major l i n e r
wear i s a b o u t 18" i n from t h e f e e d and d i s c h a r g e t h r o a t s . The
g r i n d i n g bay i s 6 5 ' 9 ' 9 2 6 4 ' . The mills a r e s e t on 4 8 f o o t c e n t e r s
The f l o t a t i o n b a y i n a m i l l i s u s u a l l y a b o u t 6 0 % o c c u p i e d b y
flotation cells. T h i s i s s o b e c a u s e a walkway i s i n s t a l l e d
between f l o t a t i o n c e l l rows. The normal a r r a n g e m e n t f o r f o u r rows
of 300 c u b i c f o o t c e l l s would b e :

C e l l Width 10"
C e l l Launders I ' each s i d e
lvalkway 4' t o 5 ' between c e l l s

The t o t a l o f t h i s would b e a f l o t a t i o n bay 68 f e e t wide. Pinto


V a l l e y i n s t a l l e d a new c o n c e p t o f common f r o t h l a u n d e r s between
f l o t a t i o n b a n k s w i t h t h e i n s p e c t i o n walkways above t h e l a u n d e r s .
T h i s a l l o w e d f o u r rows of 300 c u b i c f o o t c e l l s t o b e i n s t a l l e d i n a
56 f o o t wide b a y . This g r e a t l y reduced t h e c o s t of t h e f l o t a t i o n

bay.
The l a r g e s t c e l l s i n u s e a t t h e s t a r t o f t h e p r o j e c t were 300
cubic f o o t . T h e s e had been t r i e d a t t h e Copper C i t i e s m i l l and
10.
were found v e r y s a t i s f a c t o r y . The d e c i s i o n was t h e r e f o r e t o i n s t a l l

300 c u b i c f o o t c e l l s . The arrangement was 14 c e l l rows w i t h two

r o u g h e r - s c a v e n g e r c l e a n e r s , f o u r r o u g h e r s and e i g h t r o u g h e r -
scavengers. T h i s arrangement a l l o w e d f o r removal of s l i m e s b e f o r e

regrinding. The o r i g i n a l f e e d e n t e r s a t t h e t h i r d c e l l . Cells


3 , 4 , 5 and 6 make a r o u g h e r c o n c e n t r a t e . C e l l s 7 t h r o u g h 1 4 make

a r o u g h e r s c a v e n g e r c o n c e n t r a t e which i s s e n t t o c e l l No. 1. Cells


No. 1 and No. 2 make a rougher c o n c e n t r a t e which j o i n s t h e r o u g h e r

c o n c e n t r a t e from c e l l s 3 , 4 , 5 and 6 going t o t h e r e g r i n d m i l l and


the cleaner c i r c u i t .
I t i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t t o c a l c u l a t e t h e volume o f f r o t h s l u r r y

in the various concentrate streams i n the f l o t a t i o n c i r c u i t . Froth


does n o t always b r e a k down r e a d i l y s o t h a t pumps and p i p e l i n e s a r e
h a n d l i n g a combination o f f r o t h and l i q u i d . Small d i a m e t e r p i p e -
l i n e s and narrow l a u n d e r s t e n d t o i n h i b i t t h e breakdown o f f r o t h .
I n d e s i g n i n g l a u n d e r s , p i p e l i n e s and pumps i n t h e f l o t a t i o n c i r c u i t

t h e tendency s h o u l d be t o o v e r - d e s i g n .
What i s t h e c h e a p e s t way t o t r a n s p o r t c o n c e n t r a t e ? Pinto Valley
i s l o c a t e d a b o u t t e n m i l e s by r o a d from t h e s m e l t e r which was t o
t r e a t the concentrate. The c o s t o f t r u c k i n g was i n v e s t i g a t e d a s
well as p i p e l i n i n g t h e concentrate. The economics worked o u t i n
favor of a s l u r r y p i p e l i n e 10.7 miles long. The d e c i s i o n t u r n e d o u t
t o be b e t t e r t h a n e x p e c t e d s i n c e a p i p e l i n e i s c a p i t a l i n t e n s i v e and
n o t l a b o r i n t e n s i v e which h a s i n s u r e d i t s o p e r a t i n g c o s t somewhat
against inflation.

There a r e many o t h e r d e s i g n problems. I have c o v e r e d what I '

b e l i e v e t o be t h e major d e s i g n problems and t h e ones c a p a b l e of


s a v i n g t h e most money f o r a company.

C a r e f u l p l a n n i n g i s n e c e s s a r y t o a c h i e v e a minimum i n s t a l l e d
75-8-78

If.
'
c o s t with a minimum a p e r a t i n g c o s t , The cheapest equipment is
seldom t h e b e s t s e l e c t i o n f o r achieving t h e lowest operating e a s t
Arrangement o f equipment t o minimize lift and h o r i z o n t a l movement
o f material is essential to l o w o p e r a t i n g c o s t s .

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