A month ago Outotec’s experts participated in “Technotour RCC” at Mikheyevsky Mining and Processing Plant (MPP), a subsidiary of Russian Copper Company. The main purpose of the event was to showcase the MPP as a state-of-the-art plant and, importantly, provide future mining engineers with new experience.
The participants had an opportunity to visit the new production facilities – from the pit to the analytical laboratory. Outotec had designed the mill and coarse ore stockpile 90 m across and 38 m high holding some 230,000 tonnes of ore. Outotec had also delivered flotation, pulp thickening and final concentrate filtration equipment.
The Mikheyevsky mill features two main flotation circuits, 6 cells each, with an aggregate capacity of 300 m3 and design throughput of 2,820 mt/hr. The milling equipment features a ball mill, an ultrafine grinding mill, as well as two cleaning flotation lines, six 100 m3 cells each. The pulp can also be streamed to secondary and tertiary flotation circuits with 50 m3 and 30 m3 cells, respectively.
At the Mikheyevsky mill, Outotec also installed a pulp thickener (High Rate Thickener, HRT) with Vane Feedwell and membrane filter press (FFP).
Along with the main equipment, Outotec installed a FrothSense video analyzer system, two online slurry analyzer system (PSI300 and PSI500), flow analyzer Courier 6 and Chemistry Navigator Chena for electrochemical measuring and process monitoring. All of these systems provide operators with instant and accurate process metrics and facilitate reduction of reagent consumption.
In the process control room, the visitors could see the flow of feed from the coarse ore stockpile to flotation cells. “Technotour” participants appreciated the compact and thoughtful plant design.
A more detailed overview of the design and equipment was provided to the participants after the plant tour. Outotec’s experts presented several stock videos on the functioning of the flotation circuits and thickeners. “Flotation is not unlike laundry. It requires garments (feed), soap (reagents), water, air and the washing machine (flotation cell) itself”, Outotec process manager Valentina Liski noted.
Outotec’s filters sales manager Yuriy Beloborodko presented filters installed in Micheyevskiy as well as the entire Outotec line of filters based on various action principles. He explained how Disc Filters, Capillary Action Filters, Horizontal Vacuum Belt Filters and Filter Presses work. After his presentation, one of the participants asked whether any Russian companies are currently using dry tails stacking. Mr. Beloborodko noted that Outotec has delivered filter presses to the Amur Hydrometallurgical Plant owned by Polymetal. The filter presses are expected to begin operation late this summer.
As state-of-the-art technology knowledge transfer was the main “Technotour” objective, Valentina Liski and Yuriy Beloborodko gave a lecture to students of the Magnitogorsk State Technical University.
Yuriy Beloborodko’s lecture on filter technologies was given as a typical presentation. In contrast, Valentina Liski, also Outotec’s product training manager, practically drew on the students’ knowledge and experience and created an atmosphere of engagement and interaction. She was explaining how flotation works, and why so much material is lost to tails and automation is so important for modern MPPs.
“Controllers, analyzers and automation systems will enable reduction of reagents and consumables. For instance, in the Chelyabinsk region where the Mikheyevskiy MPP is, water consumption is limited. So, in a dry summer water supply is going to be problematic. How can we make the flotation process, which normally works with two-thirds water, work with 40-50% solids?” – asked Liski, – “We can’t waste water. Sensors will help control it although one problem remains unsolved – installation of a water sensor in the middle of a tailings pond and transfer metrics from it to the operator.”
Processing automation is an important aspect of the student’s future career. At time, what they learn at the university, is obsolete by the time they graduate. Outotec’s presentations helped expose these Urals’ students to the most advanced automation systems which only now are being installed at plants.
Outotec helped the students take a deeper look at their future profession and motivated them to engage and interact – those in the audience who gave the most accurate and interesting answers were presented with reflective bracelets emblazoned with the company’s logo.
- Ural State Mining University
- Magnitogorsk State Technical University
- Ural Federal University
- South Ural State University
- Korkino mining and construction engineering technical school
The Mikheyevskiy MPP is a subsidiary of Russian Copper Company. It is the largest MPP which has been designed and built from the ground up in the former USSR. According to the CRU assessment, Mikheyevskoye is one of the top-50 largest copper deposits in the world.