Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.102, 32-41, 2013
Determining flotation circuit layout using genetic algorithms with pulp and froth models
Mineral separation by froth flotation is carried out industrially by large and complex circuit arrangements, the layouts of which are based on flotation kinetics, modelling and experience. flotation cell performance, in terms of concentrate grade and mineral recovery, can be predicted using kinetic models to describe particle recovery in the pulp phase and physics-based models to describe the behaviour in the froth phase. Linking several cells using this modelling approach allows the performance of flotation circuits to be determined, and, together with a suitable optimisation algorithm, for the optimal layout of the circuit to be established. This paper combines the powerful genetic algorithm optimisation methodology with pulp and froth modelling in each flotation cell to determine the optimal layout for flotation circuits comprising up to eight cells. Results showed that for three cells, the optimal circuit, that is, the circuit which resulted in the most profitable combination of grade and recovery, was for the cells to be arranged in series. For circuits of four to eight cells, however, the addition of a cleaner cell was shown to yield a higher revenue. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.