Intelligent Economic Model for Minerals and Waste Slurry Treatment


In mineral process operations, vortex separators are used extensively for solid-liquid separation. Their performance depends on the particle separation size, diameter and number of installed units in a battery. These parameters have severe impact on the concentrate and hence project economics. The design procedures are normally based on the correlation developed from historic data and for data from manufacturers. However, it is always impossible to eliminate the elements of uncertainty, which could result in concentrate losses in the tailings. It is therefore important to implement an online process monitoring of the vortex separators to correct any deficiencies to prevent low separation efficiencies and high concentrate losses. In this study, the authors develop an intelligent monitoring technology, FOREX to solve the problem. FOREX is an interactive FORTRAN-based program in EXCEL with graphic display that allows the user to input or modify the operating and other process parameters to yield economic separation results. For an industrial stream of 1000 tons day-1, feed concentration of 0.76 kg m-3, given an individual underflow to feed ratio of 0.1 and differential specific gravity of 1.04, FOREX intelligently yielded an economic battery of seven vortex separators with an individual diameter of 44.8 mm, operating at a pressure drop of 11.8 bar and an optimum particle separation size of 3.86 µm. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Economic Modeling; Intelligent Modeling; Numerical Modeling; Solid-Liquid Mixtures; Vortex Separators; Waste Slurry Flow

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2003 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2003