The froth phase is a vital component in any flotation process, and acts as the main means for mineral transport out of the cell and determines recovery. The optimisation of recovery requires control of the froth quantity, while the optimisation of concentrate grade requires the control of the froth structure. However, current froth control mechanisms tend to be limited both in range and accuracy.
The CSIRO InterFloat™ is a robust industrial-grade development-stage device, which provides accurate visual and digital feedback on the froth level, allowing optimisation of flotation processing and mineral recovery.
Development and Implementation
Clarity supported the implementation of two development-stage CSIRO InterFloat™ sensors - in central Victoria and for a coordinated experimental trial in central Queensland.
The implementation was at a mine site with a low level of instrumentation and control, with no Distributed Control Systems (DCS) or historian capability.
Within the first 3 months of installing the Victorian sensor, Clarity visited the site every two weeks, to inspect the probe and electronics housing, and access stored data. It was also a great opportunity to learn from operations staff how they were starting to interact with the instrument and use the level information.
This latter part was critical for the local operators and supervisory staff to gain ‘buy-in’, making the implementation successful.
While the Victorian site had access to the instantaneous level values from the local display, Clarity supplemented this with data files to give the historical trend. This was first done by accessing and processing the locally stored data during each fortnightly site visit. We then leveraged the secure 4G connection and edge processing capability to download the key processed level information and supply site operations with historical data on a weekly basis. This was later further augmented by providing site operations with a near-real-time online trend of the interface level via a secure dashboard, accessible via computer or smart device.
A more recent installation was in central Queensland at a mine site with a high level of instrumentation and monitoring. The sensor was installed together with a range of instruments and used by a PhD student as input into flotation model development. Because the trial was only for six weeks, the unit was not wired to the mine site’s existing infrastructure. Instead, Clarity conducted remote monitoring and diagnostics and provided mine operations with a dashboard enabling an overview of the process variables over the trial period.