Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 115 num. 5 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Pyrometallurgy modelling</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Spotlight: SANCOT 2015 Conference</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Obituary Joseph Lurie</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Industry and Government support for Electra Mining Botswana</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Representation of coal and coal derivatives in process modelling</b>]]> This paper provides guidelines on performing mass and energy balance modelling involving coal and coal derivatives. Usually, the inputs to a pyrometallurgical process would be specified in terms of elements and compounds. Reliable thermochemical data is more widely available for species involving uniquely defined, relatively smaller molecules. However, in the case of coal, the molecules are extremely large and not uniquely defined. Consequently, modelling processes involving coal and its derivatives involve several potential pitfalls. These are outlined in the present paper. It was found that coal proximate analysis should not be regarded as absolute; it could vary with several parameters, including heating rate. For modelling, the use of ultimate analyses should be considered a preferable option to proximate analyses, where 'fixed carbon' and 'volatiles' are not defined in terms of chemical composition. Significant errors could be incurred if the larger molecules are neglected during calculation of the calorific value (CV) of coal gas (the gas liberated when coal is heated in the absence of oxygen). For elemental analysis determination, the oxygen content (which is calculated by balance) should be checked to ensure it is within the expected range. For representation of sulphur in coal, one should avoid double-counting due to SO3 in the ash analysis. Potentially, oxygen in coal could be represented as O2, H2O, CO, or CO2. However, use of some of these species without considering the experimentally determined gross CV leads to significant errors in the energy balance. If coal enthalpy is calculated from elemental analyses without correction, representation of coal oxygen as H2O(1) gives reasonable accuracy. Coal volatiles could be represented by a complex mixture of compounds, even using different oxygen-containing species than these four, provided the enthalpy is corrected. It is recommended that an 'enthalpy correction value' be incorporated in energy balances involving combustion, devolatilization, or conversion of coal and coal derivatives, e.g. coke, char, or tar. That would imply that proximate analysis, elemental analysis, as well as the gross CV would be required for all solid or liquid coal-derived substances being modelled. No other correction due to carbon being present in a form other than graphite should be used, as that would imply double-counting some effects. <![CDATA[<b>Sonic injection into a PGM Peirce-Smith converter: CFD modelling and industrial trials</b>]]> Peirce-Smith converters (PSCs) are extensively used in the copper, nickel, and platinum group metals industries. The typical converting operation involves lateral purging of air into molten matte through a bank of tuyeres. This blowing operation occurs at low pressure from the blowers, resulting in a bubbling regime that is considered inefficient from both a process and an energy utilization perspective. Inherent drawbacks also include recurrent tuyere blockage, tuyere punching, and low oxygen efficiency. Western Platinum embarked on a full-scale industrial evaluation of generating a jetting regime by using sonic injection. Prior to industrial-scale tests, a numerical assessment to ascertain the feasibility of implementing sonic injection into a PSC was conducted. The work included flow characterization at high-pressure injection achieving sonic velocity at the tuyere exit. The 2D and 3D simulations of the three-phase system were carried out using the volume of fluid method together with the RKE turbulence model to account for the multiphase and turbulent nature of the flow. This paper discusses the key findings in understanding plume extension, velocity distribution, shear wall stress analysis, and phase distribution characteristics in the system. Plant trials are also discussed with reference to the commercial aspects of a full-scale implementation of sonic injection in the smelter. <![CDATA[<b>Physical and numerical modelling of a four-strand steelmaking tundish using flow analysis of different configurations</b>]]> Modern tundishes have evolved as vessels to serve as the final step in refining of molten steel by removing inclusions and promoting thermo-chemical homogeneity. In this study the flow behaviour in a four-strand tundish was investigated by means of a ½-scale water model as well as numerical modelling. The numerical and physical models were used to characterize residence time distribution and calculate properties pertaining to tundish flow regime. Three different tundish configurations were investigated: a bare tundish with no flow control devices, a tundish with a turbulence inhibitor, and a tundish with both a turbulence inhibitor and a dam. The physical and numerical models showed that a tundish without flow control devices is prone to significant short-circuiting. A tundish with a turbulence inhibitor was shown to be successful in preventing short-circuiting and provided surface-directed flow that might assist the removal of inclusions from the melt. However, it was also observed that the upward-directed flow caused the maximum turbulence kinetic energy near the surface to increase dramatically. The potential for slag entrainment should therefore be considered during the design and operation of tundishes with turbulence inhibitors. <![CDATA[<b>Modelling of fluid flow phenomena in Peirce-Smith copper converters and analysis of combined blowing concept</b>]]> This investigation consists of a numerical and physical modelling exercise on flow patterns, mixing, solid-liquid mass transfer, and slag-matte phase distribution in a 0.2-scale cold model of an industrial Peirce-Smith converter (PSC). Water, kerosene, air, and sintered benzoic acid compacts were used to simulate matte, slag, injected gas, and solid additions into the PSC. The 2D and 3D numerical simulations were carried out using volume of fluid (VOF) and realizable k-ε (RKE) turbulence models to account for the multiphase and turbulence nature of the flow respectively. These models were implemented using the commercial computational fluid dynamics numerical code FLUENT. Numerical and physical simulations were able to predict, in agreement, the mixing and dispersion characteristics of the system in relation to various blowing conditions. Measurement of mass transfer indicated that fluid flow in the PSC is stratified. Blowing configurations and slag volume both had significant effects on mixing propagation, wave formation, and splashing. As a potential process alternative to increase conversion efficiency, we propose a combined blowing configuration using top lance and lateral nozzles. The numerical simulations were conducted on combined as well as lateral blowing conditions, and the results of the combined concept are encouraging. <![CDATA[<b>The recovery of platinum group metals from low-grade concentrates to an iron alloy using silicon carbide as reductant</b>]]> The purpose of the study was to investigate the feasibility of SiC reduction of low-grade concentrates from Lonmin's Rowland and Easterns operations with respect to metal fall and PGM recovery. These concentrates are rich in SiO2 and MgO with low concentrations of chalcopyrite and Cr2O3. Pd is the most abundant of the PGMs. SiC reduction of samples was conducted at 1600°C with 2.5-3.5 kg SiC per 100 kg concentrate. PGM recoveries for Easterns concentrate were better than for Rowland. More than 85% of the Ir and Pd and almost 60% of the Pt were recovered with 3.5 kg SiC per 100 kg concentrate. SEM of slag samples showed little entrainment of metallic prills compared to Rowland samples. This was attributed to the relatively higher melt viscosities of the Rowland concentrate. In order to decrease slag viscosity and to enhance PGM recovery, the FeO content of the Easterns concentrate was increased with the addition of 10 kg converter slag per 100 kg concentrate. Ir and Pd recoveries were increased to about 95%, while Pt recovery was around 70%. On the basis of these results an optimum feed ratio between Easterns and Rowland concentrates and converter slag is proposed. Carbothermic reduction of the optimum charge was also compared to SiC reduction. Carbothermic reduction yielded a marginally higher metal fall; however, the calculated gas emissions and energy requirements were higher than for SiC reduction. <![CDATA[<b>Value-in-use model for chlorination of titania feedstocks</b>]]> In the chlorination process for TiO2 pigment production, blends of titania feedstocks such as ilmenite, synthetic rutile (sr), natural rutile, upgraded slag, and chloride-grade slag are reacted with coke and chlorine at a temperature of around 1000°C to form TiCl4 (the main product) and other waste metal chlorides. The TiCl4 is the main feed material for the TiO2 pigment-making process. Feeding different titania materials to the chlorinator affects the amount of coke and chlorine required for the process, the amount of waste generated, waste disposal costs, the amount of TiCl4 produced, and bed build-up rates. These factors influence the value of the feedstock. Generally, a higher TiO2 feedstock is more valued since less waste is generated and less reagents are consumed. To quantify the impact of different feedstocks on the chlorinator, a techno-economic model was developed to describe the chlorination process and estimate process variables at steady state. This paper describes the development of the model and studies in which the model has been used to quantify effects of using different feedstocks. <![CDATA[<b>Interaction of dust with the DC plasma arc - a computational modelling investigation</b>]]> The presence of dust and fume suspended in the freeboard region is a common feature of the operation of direct current (DC) plasma smelting furnaces. This occurs primarily as a result of the use of fine feed materials together with the open-arc, open-bath operation of such smelters, and is exacerbated by the high velocities and turbulent mixing of the gas in the vicinity of the arc jet. Dust and fume losses into the furnace off-gas system can be significant in some cases and may have economic, operational, and environmental impacts on the process. A computational modelling study is presented in which the concentration of dust material was considered as a continuous field subject to a governing partial differential equation. Settling behaviour was calculated as a function of particle size, local gas/plasma temperature, and other physical properties. Development of the coupling between the concentration field and a magnetohydrodynamic description of the arc is shown, and the resulting models were used to compute various aspects of the behaviour of the concentration field in the arc region for a variety of furnace conditions. Time-averaged as well as transient models of the arc were used to generate the results presented. Qualitative case studies produced several practical suggestions for furnace operation, including increased dust capture by the bath when feed ports are located closer to the electrode, and the possible effects of feed segregation in the furnace freeboard based on dust particle size and density. <![CDATA[<b>A finite difference model of the iron ore sinter process</b>]]> Iron ore fines are agglomerated to produce sinter, which is an important feed material for blast furnaces worldwide. A model of the iron ore sintering process has been developed with the objective of being representative of the sinter pot test, the standard laboratory process in which the behaviour of specific sinter feed mixtures is evaluated. The model aims to predict sinter quality, including chemical quality and physical strength, as well as key sinter process performance parameters such as production rate and fuel consumption rate. The model uses the finite difference method (FDM) to solve heat and mass distributions within the sinter pot over the height and time dimensions. This model can further be used for establishing empirical relationships between modelled parameters and measured sinter properties. Inputs into the model include the feed material physical properties, chemical compositions, and boundary conditions. Submodels describe relationships between applied pressure differential and gas flow rate through the bed of granulated fine ore particles, combustion of carbonaceous material, calcination of fluxes, evaporation and condensation of water, and melting and solidification. The model was applied to typical sinter test conditions to illustrate the results predicted, and to test sensitivities to parameters such as feed void fraction, feed coke percentage, and the fraction of combustion heat transferred to the gas phase. A model validation and improvement study should follow, ensuring sinter test results are free from experimental errors by conducting repeated tests. <![CDATA[<b>Modelling and optimization of a rotary kiln direct reduction process</b>]]> Rotary kilns are used for a variety of mineral processing operations. Hatch makes use of a kiln model developed from first principles to evaluate designs for its clients. This tool has been applied to a variety of pyrometal-lurgical applications, including ferrovanadium, nickel carbonate, nickel laterite, iron ore reduction, and spodumene (lithium) production. This paper illustrates the application of numerical optimization techniques in combination with the kiln model in the interrogation of a generic iron ore reduction process. The fundamental modelling concepts are explained, followed by a description of the optimization approach. The results show how the combination of the two methods, with modern computing power, can generate a large number of viable design and operating candidates. <![CDATA[<b>Equipment selection based on the AHP and Yager's method</b>]]> One of the challenging problems for optimization in mining operations is to choose the best equipment among the alternatives. Equipment selection is an important task for mine management due to its operational cost, and is also an integral part of mine planning and design. Equipment selection is not a well-defined process because it involves the interaction of several subjective factors or criteria. Besides, decisions are often complicated and may even embody contradictions. Therefore, equipment selection is considered as a multi-criteria decision-making process, and suitable decision-making methods should be employed in this process. In this study, the loader selection for Aegean Lignite Colliery was made by using both the analytic hierarchy process and Yager's method. Owing to the misusage of Yager's method in the past, a new procedure is proposed in this paper for making proper decisions. It is highly recommended in this purposed method that criteria or alternatives should be grouped so as not to exceed the limitations of human performance (nine criteria/alternatives). The most appropriate solution for the loader selection was investigated by obeying this limitation for each method, and the results were compared. At the end of the decision-making process, a sensitivity analysis was applied for each method in order to see how a criterion affects the final decision. The advantages and disadvantages encountered during the application of each decision-making method are presented. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-sink shaft safety analysis using wireline geophysics</b>]]> During the preliminary design phases and feasibility study of a proposed vertical shaft, a vertical diamond drill-hole is normally drilled on the site. This paper outlines how rock mass characteristics, in-situ rock stress, rock strength, hydrological characteristics, and structural parameters can be determined using wireline logging of this borehole. In addition, a rock mass classification scheme is developed, based on published work, and in particular the Q-factor is adapted to assess the stability of raise-bored shafts. The 'stick plot' is introduced, which combines all geotechnical parameters applicable to the stability of a vertical shaft into a colour-coded format where cross-correlations can readily be made on a day-today basis during the shaft-sinking process. <![CDATA[<b>Hydraulic support instability mechanism and its control in a fully-mechanized steep coal seam working face with large mining height</b>]]> Hydraulic support instability (HSI) is one of the most common causes of disasters in underground coal mining, posing a threat to the safety of mine workers and normal operation of the equipment. It is prone to occur in fully-mechanized mining faces with a large mining height (FMMLMH), especially when the dip angle of the coal seam is large. The key to controlling HSI is to deduce its mechanism and employ effective control techniques. This paper focuses on the analysis of HSI types, the key parameters and techniques to control HSI in FMMLMH, the establishment of a model of HSI in FMMLMH, and a multi-parameter sensitivity mechanical model of different HSI forms in the no. 7(2)19 longwall face in Xutuan Coal Mine, Huaibei Mining Group, by using sensitivity analysis . The results show that HSI mainly presents in three forms: hydraulic support gliding (HSG), hydraulic support tilting (HST), and hydraulic support tail twisting (HSTT). The occurrence of the above three forms depends mainly on support anti-instability capability. In the no. 7219 longwall face, HSG and HST are the main two forms of HSI. The dip angle of the working face and the friction coefficient between floor and hydraulic support are the sensitive parameters for HSG, while HST is strongly dependent on the dip angle of the working face and the friction coefficient between roof and hydraulic support. By the applications of measures such as the oblique layout of the working face, cutting the floor into a step pattern, moving the support under pressure, and raising the setting load, the support stability was controlled effectively. <![CDATA[<b>Unplanned dilution and ore loss prediction in longhole stoping mines via multiple regression and artificial neural network analyses</b>]]> Unplanned dilution and ore loss directly influence not only the productivity of underground stopes, but also the profitability of the entire mining process. Stope dilution is a result of complex interactions between a number of factors, and cannot be predicted prior to mining. In this study, unplanned dilution and ore loss prediction models were established using multiple linear and nonlinear regression analysis (MLRA and MNRA), as well as an artificial neural network (ANN) method based on 1067 datasets with ten causative factors from three underground longhole stoping mines in Western Australia. Models were established for individual mines, as well as a general model that includes all of the mine data-sets. The correlation coefficient (R) was used to evaluate the methods, and the values for MLRA, MNRA, and ANN compared with the general model were 0.419, 0.438, and 0.719, respectively. Considering that the current unplanned dilution and ore loss prediction for the mines investigated yielded an R of 0.088, the ANN model results are noteworthy. The proposed ANN model can be used directly as a practical tool to predict unplanned dilution and ore loss in mines, which will not only enhance productivity, but will also be beneficial for stope planning and design. <![CDATA[<b>Numerical simulation of multiphase flow in a Vanyukov furnace</b>]]> Multiphase flow in the widely used Vanyukov furnace was numerically studied. An unsteady three-dimensional and three-phase flow model was firstly built using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS FLUENT®, and then solved with the volume of fluid (VOF) and k - ε model. The results showed that the proposed model could be used to predict the multiphase movement, the slag/air fluctuation, the vortex formation, and effects of structural and operational parameters. By fast Fourier transform (FFT), the dominant frequency of density with time signal was calculated as 0.29 Hz. The analysis of different injection flow rates of enriched air indicated that this variable has a major effect on the mean slag velocity. The peak mean velocity increased from 2.17 to 4.99 m/s while the flow rate of enriched air varied from 70 to 160 m/s. The proposed model provides a method to optimize the furnace structure and operating conditions for the best furnace performance and lowest energy consumption.