Title: Modelling, simulation and optimisation of the comminution and flotation circuits of platinum for sustainable mineral processing

Authors: Wilson R. Nyemba; Zvikomborero B. Kapumha; Tawanda Mushiri; Charles Mbohwa

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa ' Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Technology, National University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box AC 939, Ascot Road, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe ' Department of Quality and Operations Management, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa ' Department of Quality and Operations Management, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract: The quantum of minerals extracted from ore is critical for the success of mineral processing, hence the necessity to optimise the process flows in order to recover as much minerals as possible. The aim of this research was to identify bottlenecks and recovery-hampering factors within the comminution and flotation circuits of the concentrator plant at a platinum processing company in Zimbabwe. Modelling and simulation of the circuits were carried using Arena and Limn simulation software to optimise the process flows for improved throughput, maximum mineral recovery and enhanced efficiency and productivity. Alternative configurations of the layout of equipment were tested and compared with the original setup. The recommended reconfiguration of the circuits achieved increases of 2.97% in mineral recovery and 4 grams/ton in productivity resulting in a maximised output for the sustainable processing of platinum ore.

Keywords: comminution; modelling; flotation; platinum processing; optimisation; simulation; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSM.2020.10028812

International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, 2020 Vol.4 No.2/3/4, pp.300 - 318

Received: 23 Feb 2019
Accepted: 28 Jun 2019

Published online: 23 Apr 2020 *

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