“We started with bulk flotation. This is a completed project; it has already been implemented and is only being finalized now. Its main goal is to increase metal recovery, reduce tailings and keep metal concentrates in the required ranges”, he said.
The specialist speaks about one of the projects of the Digital Factory – The Bulk Flotation Optimizer. Its main task is to separate useful minerals from impurities and obtain concentrate rich in valuable components and tailings, with which waste rock is removed.
The optimizer has made the process of mineral processing easier and more accurate. With the introduction of digital twin technology for flotation machines, a mathematical algorithm in automatic mode performs now 80 percent of the work.
Though a computer cannot completely replace a living specialist; the optimizer is rather an assistant. The machine analyzes the process only at a specified time interval, after which it makes adjustments.
The introduction of the flotation optimizer has brought a tangible economic effect, because the main goal of the plant is to increase the content of valuable components in the processed raw materials.
Extraction has increased: by 0.1 percent for nickel, and by 0.08 percent – for copper.
This year, the optimizer is planned to be tested on the nickel flotation cycle and additional flotation of low-nickel pyrrhotite. Overall, the Digital Factory includes nine innovative projects, including a digital granulometer.
“We are now actively introducing methods of computer vision. They allow us to determine what kind of ore is being supplied, its area and size. Such information will be very useful for the mill operator who will be able to draw appropriate conclusions and adjust the mill’s operation to increase processing”, said Dmitry Fedotov.
This year, the Digital Factory of the Talnah Concentrating Plant has won the Mining Industry 4.0 competition for effective digital initiatives of mining enterprises in the Digitalization of Processing Division nomination.
Text: Oksana Serova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division press office