To save freshwater resources and comply with environmental regulations, minerals processing operations are transitioning to partially or fully closed water circulation. However, the accumulation of electrolytes and the addition of reagents lead to changes in water composition and may compromise flotation performance and plant maintenance. As a consequence, costly modifications are often required to cope with these challenges. Therefore, knowledge about water quality variation owing to closed water circulation and its potential effect on the flotation performance is crucial. The experimental methodology presented in this paper targeted three main objectives: (1) predicting the tendency of the accumulation of elements and compounds into the process water during comminution, flotation, and storage in tailings facilities; (2) establishing a relationship between laboratory results and plant historical water quality data; and (3) predicting the potential effect of recycling water on flotation performance. The results obtained with Boliden Kevitsa ore showed a good correlation between the water matrix of the actual process water on-site and that obtained in the ore dissolution tests done in the laboratory. The final water composition came close to the process water in terms of major elements and some of the minor elements. Additionally, the work presented in this paper demonstrated that a dissolution loop allowed us to predict the potential impact of the recycling water on the ore flotability. This methodology could serve as an aid for predicting water quality matrix variation and designing closed water circulation systems at existing and new plants.
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