Small liberation size
Iron and silica liberation sizes will dictate the necessary magnitude of grinding power and the type of equipment that will be required for handling and dewatering flotation products. This parameter will have a direct impact not only on the project’s CAPEX and OPEX, but also on the project’s technical complexity, depending on its location, available concentrate and tailings storage, and transport infrastructure.
With a decreasing average particle size, the flowability and permeability of bulk solids typically deteriorate and their saturation moisture content increases. This can pose challenges for filtration, where either more time, more surface or more energy will be required to achieve the targeted residual moisture content, compared to coarse material filtration. It can also be problematic for tailings management, where dam construction and storage strategies sometime rely on the use of coarse material or on timely drainage of certain areas. With fine particles, dust emission can also become an issue and requires dust control measures to be put in place, which would also impact the project’s bottom line.
The availability of power may also pose some challenges, depending on the project’s location and the capacity of the existing local electrical infrastructure. Knowing the maximum power available for the project can help determine whether power will be a constraint when selecting a grind size for your processes or whether electrical upgrades will need to be included in the project’s scope and timeline.