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Coal flotation : statistical comparison of a pilot flotation column and a batch mechanical cell Musara, Washington Tendai


The effect of manipulated variables on the flotation response of run-of-mine coal supplied by Bullmoose Coal Mine (North East British Columbia) was studied in a pilot flotation column and a batch mechanical cell using experimental designs of the factorial class after the coal had been stage crushed and ground to about 96 percent minus 600 µm, the feed size to the flotation circuit at Bullmoose Coal Mine. The objective was to optimise statistically the two flotation units usings (1) screening designs, (2) the steepest ascent technique, and (3) central composite designs, and to compare cell performance. The efficiency index was employed as the primary optimisation criterion. The two cells yielded comparable efficiency indices, but the product ash content of clean coal from the flotation column was consistently lower. Evaluation of the efficiency indices of individual size fractions was also carried out at the optimum conditions of each cell. The approach taken was to separate the feed into individual size fractions, retain the fractions separately, and float them separately. The flotation column yielded higher efficiency indices and lower product ash content when a feed with 15 percent solids was floated. Results obtained by floating individual size fractions at 2 percent solids indicated that it is difficult to float sizes above 300 µm in both cells at such a low pulp density. Below 300 µm, the performance of both cells was comparable.

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