Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) says Grinding Solutions, a metallurgical laboratory and consultancy service, is using a 500 series peristaltic pump from WMFTG as part of a new pilot plant for Cornish Lithium’s project in the southwest of England.
The pump features six pump heads to dose reagents into all six streams of the flotation process simultaneously.
As part of the same pilot plant, the company is also using a Qdos metering pump from WMFTG to dose flocculant into settling tanks.
Grinding Solutions has taken advantage of pumps from WMFTG for many years as part of bench testing operations, but the move to pilot scale operations is a first-time venture for this progressive company, WMFTG said.
After successful bench testing, Grinding Solutions is now undertaking pilot plant testing for Cornish Lithium, helping the company to develop a process to extract lithium from micas.
Pilot-scale operations enable Grinding Solution to confirm bench test results, build confidence and generate concentrate which Cornish Lithium can use for further testing, according to the pump maker. The pilot plant will also help its client to verify processes, understand costs and minimise risks.
“We’ve been working with Cornish Lithium for a couple of years now,” Jon Rumbles, Project Metallurgist at Grinding Solutions, said. “Steadily, we’ve progressed from bench-based mineral processing and testing, to a pilot plant. Rather than processing tens of kilograms, we’re now processing hundreds of kilograms.”
Grinding Solutions crushes, mills and separates the mineral into different size fractions, processing it to generate a lithium concentrate. Vital to the success of the pilot plant is the accurate dosing/pumping of materials.
Through the pilot plant’s flotation stage, there is a need to dose reagent (collector and thickener) at a constant addition rate. Here, the company takes advantage of a Watson-Marlow 530SN peristaltic pump with six 313 pump heads.
“The use of six pump heads means we can use a single pump to dose all six streams through the rougher and scavenger as part of the flotation process, which is very efficient,” Rumbles said.
In addition, the company is leveraging the benefits of a Qdos 30 metering pump from WMFTG for dosing flocculant into settling tanks at a rate of 10-15 ml/min. The flocculant allows for better settling, permitting quicker extraction of the water ready for recirculation back through the system, according to WMFTG.
“We’ve been using Watson-Marlow pumps for years, for both dosing and slurry transfer,” Rumbles said. “They are really easy to calibrate, while their wide ranging flow rate capabilities are invaluable. We have a number of 500 series pumps on site for reagent dosing, plus the Qdos 30. A couple of the 500 series pumps are fitted with larger pump heads for slurry transfer, while some of our 600 pump series models are linked to density meters. In fact, to facilitate automatic adjustment, we’re now looking at using the 4-20 mA input for even more control from live meters.”
As well as dosing viscous reagents, Grinding Solutions uses its Watson-Marlow pumps to dose sulphuric acid, which helps the system maintain a pH of 2-3.
“By using peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow, we’ve not had to think about issues like strong acidity and high viscosity,” Rumbles said. “As the pump heads are self-contained, we can change a reagent – and a pump head – without having to worry about damage to pump parts or cross contamination. In addition, we get accurate dosing and continuous flow from Watson-Marlow pumps, with no reliability issues whatsoever.”