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Typical Reproducibility of

Metal Balances in Flotation Plants

Luc Lachance & Donald Leroux
Presenter: Simon Gariepy
Flotation Plants and Metal Balances

Daily balance Tonnage Assays Distribution

Streams t/day %Cu %Zn Cu Zn
Plant Feed 2 814,0 0,38 7,98 100,0% 100,0%
Cu Rghr concentrate 291,2 2,54 7,89 69,3% 10,2%
Cu Rghr Tails 2 522,8 0,13 7,99 30,7% 89,8%
Cu concentrate 23,4 24,98 1,94 54,7% 0,2%
Cu Circuit tails 267,8 0,58 8,41 14,6% 10,0%
Zn Concentrate 320,8 0,26 52,46 7,8% 74,9%
Zn Rghr tails 1 946,1 0,08 1,06 14,6% 9,2%
Zn Clnr tails 255,8 0,32 4,97 7,7% 5,7%

Data Reconciliation is necessary to obtain a consistent dataset.

Hardware Reproducibility plays a major role in

the Data Reconciliation process
Simplified Statistical Data Reconcilation

Raw measurements Statistically Reconciled Data

Pb Zn Cu Pb Zn Cu
F 0.70 2.98 0.35 F 0.74 3.00 0.33
C 13.61 6.56 5.11 C 13.03 6.56 5.31
T 0.18 2.86 0.10 T 0.18 2.84 0.10
C/F 3.9% 3.2% 5.0% C/F 4.3% 4.3% 4.3%

Pb Zn Cu Pb Zn Cu
F 8.2% 7.6% 7.7% F 6.5% 4.4% 7.5%
C 12.1% 11.2% 9.8% C 6.2% 9.3% 8.1%
T 3.4% 4.1% 2.9% T 2.8% 3.9% 2.5%
Hardware Reproducibility Software Reproducibility
Hardware Reproducibility

Determining Hardware Reproducibility

Hardware Reproducibility in Plants

Hardware Precision

Hardware precision is the variation of measurements

taken by the same instrument (or person) of the same
Taking several samples of a given amount of slurry
flowing through a pipe equipped with an automatic

Hardware imprecision (reciprocal of precision) is often

expressed as the relative standard deviation () of the random
errors (assumed normally distributed) between the
measurements and the mean value (XM)

H.I. = / XM
Hardware Imprecisions that Affect Chemical
Composition Measurements

Require representative samples of heterogeneous streams flowing at

variable flowrates
Imprecision of sample composition depends on many factors (including
particle size, sample size, sampling rate, mineral liberation ...)
Determining Hardware Reproducibilities

Determining the reproducibility of metal

accounting instrumentation through
experimentation is feasible but... rarely done
However, hardware reproducibility can also be
assessed through the application of statistical data
reconciliation techniques
Principle: Find hardware imprecisions () that
generate a normal distribution of reduced
residuals (raw - reconciled)
Iterative SDR technique
Flotation Plant Hardware Reproducibilities

The iterative SDR technique was applied to the

metal balance data of 12 different flotation
All sulfide flotation plants
All different with flowsheets with different
network of samplers
Metals of interest of each plant included at
least one of the following: Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn
Results are presented for two streams that are
common to all plants: Plant feed and Final
Cu Assay Reproducibility in Flotation Plants

Not all Cu Plant


Numbers should be looked as pair, error

model adjustment is a multivariable

Plants typically had error model around the

2-7% interval.

Results vary greatly from plant to plant.

Ni Assay Reproducibility in Flotation Plants

No all Ni plant

Very good precision (< 5% in 4 of the 6

High variability from plant to plant and from one metal to the other.

As a benchmark, it is possible to get lower than 5%, some plant

achieving around 3%.

The best results from each metal can be regarded as reference for
benchmarking metal balances of flotation plants.

Clients of metal balances need to know the precision of the data.

Hardware precision (reproducibility) can be determined

experimentally but this rarely practical in a production environment.

Statistical data reconciliation (SDR) techniques can be applied for

estimating the precision of metal balances.

The precision of a given metal balance can now be benchmarked

against published results that were obtained from the application of
SDR techniques at multiple flotation plants.

Marie-Philippe Filteau for determining the imprecisions (hardware

reproducibility) of the chemical assays discussed in this publication.

Triple Point customers for allowing us to use their plant data and to
publish the imprecisions that were determined through the application of
the iterative SDR technique.

Conference Organizing Committee for allowing us to make the