Outokumpu Technology again at Frontier

Outokumpu Technology has won another major order for First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM) Frontier copper mine in the DRC, this time for advanced high rate thickening and high-efficiency flotation technology. The contract for SUPAFLOr thickeners, a SkimAir¦ 500 unit and TankCellr flotation cells follows a worldwide string of successes earlier this year, including a 9.75 m diameter, 6.1 m long SAG mill with 12,000 kW of installed power – again at Frontier. Frontier’s trunnion-supported SAG mill is one of the largest dual pinion variable speed drives for a SAG mill in the world.

As with the mills, the new flotation cells and thickeners will be compatible with the same advanced and proven design as those in FQM’s nearby Kansanshi copper and gold mine in Zambia, where last year Outokumpu Technology delivered a second technology package for that project.

The new Frontier order also incorporates the same flash flotation SkimAir¦ technology now in operation at Kansanshi, where its performance has confirmed its industry reputation as a profit enhancer in the grinding circuit, significantly increasing plant recovery and grade.  SkimAir improves overall recoveries by liberating easy floating particles from cyclone classifier sands to produce part of the final concentrate, thereby eliminating over-grinding and minimizing losses in the fines.

At Frontier, the flash flotation installation will feature as a two-stage process, with the SkimAir employed for Flash Roughing and a TankCell for cleaning the concentrate. This two-stage process, already in operation at Kansanshi, Telfer and Cadia, amongst others, is delivering impressive results, says Outokumpu Technology’s Australia Managing Director, Neil Jagger.

“Our flotation and thickening technologies are recognized by the industry as being global leaders – in terms of performance, innovation and real value for money. And the proven, optimized design of our technologies is a particular advantage in remote locations, where reliability, efficiency and performance are crucial.”

Advanced technology, proven performance and global service and support capabilities have all contributed to this latest success,” added Jagger.

TankCell 30s and 16s will be used for cleaning duties in Frontier’s flotation circuit.  TankCell technology is a customized design and is a renowned market leader with benefits such as fast startup under full load, easy operation and ability to run without sanding, automatic air control, optimum bubble size, air dispersion independent of mixing and optimized power draw.  

Frontier’s thickening solution comprises one 36m and one 25m SUPAFLO thickener.  SUPAFLO thickener designs include a number of innovative features, with special attention given to engineering of feedwells, rake profiles, drive systems and control strategies to meet the challenge of dewatering materials that are often problematic for normal thickeners.

Outokumpu Technology in Australia will be responsible for design and supply of the technology, scheduled for completion by the end of this year, while Outokumpu Technology’s South African office will manage local fabrication.

As with Kansanshi, Outokumpu Technology’s global network of operations comes to the fore, as this local fabrication management by the Johannesburg office will ensure both time and cost efficiencies.

Canadian-owned FQM’s Frontier project is based on a resource of 161 Mt grading 1.17% Cu. The latest contract for the mine follows other major international minerals processing successes for Outokumpu Technology, including the world’s largest flash flotation circuit for the Boddington gold mine expansion in Western Australia; advanced thickening, flotation and automation technologies for the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea, high rate thickeners for the Rio Tuba laterite nickel project in the Philippines, as well as grinding systems for OneSteel’s Project Magnet and Oxiana’s Sepon gold and copper project in Laos.