Opportunities to get involved in MPD, and More from the Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook

By Amy Jacobsen posted 10-02-2017 09:07 AM


Every month, we put out a Fine Grind article in Mining Engineering to keep members in touch with the latest happenings, technical updates and other interesting news from the MPD division. These are the Fine Grinds that appeared in the September and October 2017 issues. We invite you to comment, discuss or ask questions!

Amy Jacobsen, Secretary Treasurer
2017-2018 Mineral & Metallurgical Processing Division Executive Committee

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October Fine Grind

Opportunities to get involved in MPD: If you can spell “MPD,” you might be an extractive metallurgist

by Scott Shuey, Second Regional Vice Chair, MPD Executive Committee

Every six years, the SME Annual Conference & Expo (ACE) finds a venue outside of the usual hard-rock mining west — Denver, Salt Lake, Phoenix — and it is held somewhere else in the United States. In 2018, the SME ACE will be in Minneapolis, MN. There is no denying the importance of Minneapolis and the Great Lakes region. It was key to the development of North America. Native copper was mined on the shores of Lake Superior between 4,000 and 1,200 BC, followed by the mining of lead by indigenous communities from the 16th through the 19th centuries and the industrial expansion of those lead-zinc deposits. The development of iron and copper mining in the 19th and 20th centuries powered the Industrial Revolution and the American war effort in World War II. Now, the mining of rare earths, platinum-group metals and nickel have again added to the region’s importance.

Taking place only two weeks after Minneapolis hosts Super Bowl LII, the 2018 SME Annual Conference & Expo is slated for Feb. 25-28. With the powerful presence of the Minnesota Section of SME, this year’s conference promises to be a worthwhile visit to the Great Lakes area and the long-lived mining district represented there. The success of the event is, as always, anchored in the involvement and participation of the membership and community that SME represents. Take advantage of these opportunities to get involved, reconnect with friends and explore future career endeavors during the ACE.

MPD Unit Committee meeting, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2-3 pm
Open to all Mineral and Metallurgical Processing Division (MPD) members, the unit committee meeting is where you start if you have an interest in getting involved with  organizing technical programming for the following year’s conference. This is the first meeting in the development of the 2019 program. Members are invited to join a unit committee that represents their areas of interest and helps ensure interesting quality papers and presentations.

Scotch Nightcap scholarship fundraiser, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 8-11 pm
Following up on a great inaugural performance, MPD’s own Base Metals Band will have an encore at the 2018 Scotch Nightcap. In addition to helping raise scholarship funds for the next generation of process engineers, the Scotch Nightcap provides a great opportunity to relax, have a chat with fellow professionals and reconnect with former associates you probably haven’t seen since the last SME Conference.

MPD Luncheon/Student Poster Session, Wednesday, Feb. 28, Noon-1:30 pm
With the active involvement of students and universities, the Student Poster Session is an opportunity to see some of the work being done, possibly meet your newest employee (or future boss), and discuss a student’s latest accomplishments. The MPD luncheon follows, summarizing the community’s work for the year by presenting scholarships, professional awards and recognitions. If you only wish to learn about something new in your chosen field or expand your horizons into new arenas, a great starting point is the MPD Plenary Session, Monday, Feb. 26, 1-4 pm. Held before the start of the regular technical sessions, the MPD Plenary is one technical session that is not to be missed.The lecturers are the recipients of the Gaudin, Richards and Wadsworth awards. If you don’t learn something here, it’s because you didn’t come.

Through the active involvement of MPD’s community sponsors and members, MPD awards some $20,000 in scholarships annually. By being an active member of your MPD community and by attending these events, you can help us increase this amount, contributing to the future development of the industry.

We will see you in Minnesota, don’cha know. 

September Fine Grind

More from the Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook

by Scott Shuey and Ronel Kappes, MPD Executive Committee

Many Mineral & Metallurgical Processing Division (MPD) members may be aware that SME is assembling a new edition of the Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook. Under the auspices of Robert Dunne, Courtney Young and S. Komar Kawatra, experts and industry leaders from around the world are being amassed to produce an update to the cornerstone of every process engineer’s library. With the volumes slated for publication in 2018, snippets of various chapters will be periodically presented here in the “Fine Grind” as a hint of what is to come.

“Column Flotation”
by Michael J. Mankosa and Jaisen N. Kohmuench, Eriez Flotation Division, Erie, PA, and Gerald H. Luttrell, Mining & Minerals Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Historical perspective — Froth flotation has been used for more than a century to efficiently and economically upgrade fine particles produced by the mining industry. The majority of industrial installations utilize conventional flotation machines that consist of a series of agitated tanks through which feed slurry is passed. Gas is introduced through a rotor-stator assembly that disperses air bubbles, suspends particles and promotes bubble particle collisions. Unfortunately, conventional flotation machines suffer from the contamination of froth products by the hydraulic entrainment of fine gangue particles. This problem is particularly severe when large amounts of ultrafine slimes are present in the feed stream. Nonselective entrainment has historically been minimized through the use of cleaner flotation circuits in which the froth product is repeatedly diluted with clarified water and refloated in multiple stages. This brute-force approach of dealing with unwanted entrainment adds to both the cost and complexity of flotation plants.

In the early 1960s, an improved method of minimizing froth entrainment was patented by Canadian researchers Pierre Boutin and Remi Tremblay (1967). This invention consisted of a column-type flotation machine that introduced a counter-current flow of wash water into a deep froth phase. The wash water practically eliminated the hydraulic entrainment of ultrafine slimes and substantially improved the purity of the froth product using only a single stage of flotation. It has been reported (Dobby, 2002) that the inventors conceived of column flotation as an analogy to solvent-in-pulp columns employed in the solvent extraction of uranium ore slurries. In solvent extraction, aqueous diluent is added to the top of the extraction column and allowed to flow countercurrent to rising droplets of solvent to reduce contamination of the solvent phase. The inventors first demonstrated column flotation technology for the removal of fine silica from iron ore using a 5-cm diameter laboratory column and a 0.3 m diameter pilot-scale column (Wheeler, 1983). The technology was later demonstrated in Canada for copper sulfide flotation at the Opemisca Company concentrator using a 0.2 m2 test column (Rubinstein, 1995).

During the 1970s, numerous other laboratory and pilot-scale field trials were conducted by a newly formed company called the Column Flotation Company of Canada, Ltd. (Wheeler, 1983). This group, created and led by Don Wheeler, is credited with many of the early technical advancements associated with column technology. It was not until 1981, however, that the first industrially accepted production column was installed by Noranda’s Les Mines Gaspe concentrator within a molybdenum cleaner circuit (Coffin and Miszczak, 1982). By 1987, the two-stage column circuit installed in this operation had replaced as many as 13 stages of conventional flotation machines (Finch and Dobby, 1990). This success helped to spearhead the wider commercial acceptance of column technology as a standard unit operation in many flotation plants
throughout the minerals processing industry. 

MPD scholarships — bigger and better
During the past 10 years, the MPD Executive Committee has worked diligently with its members and corporate sponsors to increase the scholarship fund. As a result, the fund has doubled to almost $350,000. With the extra funds, the MPD Executive Committee has voted to increase the MPD scholarships and the Richard Klimpel Memorial Scholarship to a total of $17,000 per year. It also voted to provide guidance to the MPD Scholarship Committee on increasing the number of scholarships to undergraduates. The committee feels that providing more funds to undergraduates will extend the division’s outreach and recruiting efforts and that the Klimpel scholarship should be raised to an amount similar to top awards from other societies.

Starting this year, if suitable candidates are available, the following scholarships will be awarded:
• Richard Klimpel Memorial Scholarship to the outstanding graduating senior — $5,000.
• Outstanding junior award — $2,400.
• Outstanding graduate student award — $2,400.
• Four undergraduate student scholarships — $1,200 each.
• Two graduate student scholarships — $1,200 each.

We encourage all interested and eligible students to apply through the SME website, www.smenet.org/students/grantsscholarships. Questions regarding SME scholarships may be directed to scholarships@smenet.org or phone 303-948-4231. The deadline to initiate a scholarship application is Oct. 1, 2017.

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