Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Mining Engineering Department, Engineering Faculty, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

2 Process Control and Metallurgy Division, Concentration Department, Sungun, National Iranian Copper Industry, Iran

3 Faravar Pishgam Toseegar Co., Tabriz


The flotation circuit in Sungun copper plant consists of two column flotation cells as cleaner, having fixed-spargers system. To achieve the expected aims in flotation step, there are serious operational challenges such as: fast choking of the static mixers, boiling problem, burping phenomena and pulp overflow to concentrate lander, maintenance and control problems. An attempt was exerted by implementing new helical static mixer in one of cleaner cells instead of old elliptical type to overcome the challenges. The changes resulted in proper performance of the column whereas burping phenomena due to choking was eliminated, finer bubbles were produced, and the boiling and overflow problems were solved. Also, the static mixers life time increased to 7 months in helical column cells from one month in elliptical column cells. In addition to 40% air consumption reduction and 20% solid percent increase in final product, the grade of Cu and Mo increased by helical static mixer replacement up to about 18.7% from 16.8% (11%) and to 511.1 ppm from 263 ppm (94%) in the cleaner step, respectively. Recovery of Cu and Mo were increased about 1.5% and 0.2%, respectively. Finally, the results proved the effectiveness of finer bubble generation on grade improvement is depend on minerals hydrophobicity as Mo grade increased more than Cu.


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