Special Issue "Modeling, Design and Optimization of Multiphase Systems in Minerals Processing"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Processing and Metallurgy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Luis A. Cisternas
Website1 Website2 SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering and Mineral Process, Universidad of Antofagasta, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
Interests: modeling; design; optimization; uncertainty; flotation; heap leaching; tailing; seawater
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mineral processing deals with complex particle systems with two-, three- and more phases. The modeling and understanding of these systems are a challenge for research groups and a need for the industrial sector. This Special Issue aims to present new advances, methodologies, applications, and case studies of computer-aided analysis applied to multiphase systems in mineral processing. This includes aspects such as modeling, design, operation, optimization, uncertainty analysis, among other topics. The articles can be general about multiphasic systems or specific phenomena such as flotation, leaching, solvent extraction, thickening, multiphase flow, among others that include the simultaneous presence of several phases. Articles that may be of interest to a general audience are preferred over more specific or reduced audience, and therefore, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary studies are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Luis A. Cisternas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Modeling
  • Design
  • Optimization
  • Operation
  • Flotation
  • Leaching
  • Solvent extraction
  • Thickening
  • Multiphase flow

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Editorial for Special Issue “Modeling, Design and Optimization of Multiphase Systems in Minerals Processing”
Minerals 2020, 10(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020134 - 03 Feb 2020
Abstract
The exploitation of mining resources has been fundamental for the development of humanity since before industrialization [...] Full article
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Turbulence Models for Single Phase Flow Simulation of Cyclonic Flotation Columns
Minerals 2019, 9(8), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9080464 - 30 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Cyclonic fields are important for cyclonic static microbubble flotation columns (FCSMCs), one of the most important developments in column flotation technology, particularly for separation of fine particles, where the internal flow field has enormous influence on flotation performance. PIV (particle image velocimetry) and [...] Read more.
Cyclonic fields are important for cyclonic static microbubble flotation columns (FCSMCs), one of the most important developments in column flotation technology, particularly for separation of fine particles, where the internal flow field has enormous influence on flotation performance. PIV (particle image velocimetry) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) are the most effective methods to study flow fields. However, data is insufficient for FCSMC flow fields and similar cyclonic equipment, with turbulence model simulations producing different views to measured data. This paper employs an endoscope and PIV to measure axial and cross sections for single-phase swirling flow fields in FCSMCs. We then compare various turbulence model simulations (Reynolds stress model (RSM), standard k-ε, realizable k-ε, and RNG (renormalization group) k-ε) to the measured data. The RSM (Reynolds stress model) predicts cyclonic flow field best in flotation columns with 16.22% average relative velocity deviation. Although the realizable k-ε model has less than 30% relative deviation in radial and tangential directions, axial deviations reach 78.11%. Standard k-ε and RNG k-ε models exhibited approximately 40% and 30% radial and tangential deviation, respectively, and cannot be used even for trend predictions for axial velocity. k-ε models are based on isotropic assumptions with semi-empirical formulas summarized from experiments, whereas RSM fundamentally considers laminar flow and Reynolds stress, and hence is more suitable for anisotropic performance. This study will contribute to flotation column and other cyclonic flow field equipment research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Insights into the Hydroxylation Behaviors of α-Quartz (101) Surface and its Effects on the Adsorption of Sodium Oleate
Minerals 2019, 9(7), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070450 - 19 Jul 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
A scientific and rigorous study on the adsorption behavior and molecular mechanism of collector sodium oleate (NaOL) on a Ca2+-activated hydroxylated α-quartz surface was performed through experiments and density functional theory (DFT) simulations. The rarely reported hydroxylation behaviors of water molecules [...] Read more.
A scientific and rigorous study on the adsorption behavior and molecular mechanism of collector sodium oleate (NaOL) on a Ca2+-activated hydroxylated α-quartz surface was performed through experiments and density functional theory (DFT) simulations. The rarely reported hydroxylation behaviors of water molecules on the α-quartz (101) surface were first innovatively and systematically studied by DFT calculations. Both experimental and computational results consistently demonstrated that the adsorbed calcium species onto the hydroxylated structure can significantly enhance the adsorption of oleate ions, resulting in a higher quartz recovery. The calculated adsorption energies confirmed that the adsorbed hydrated Ca2+ in the form of Ca(H2O)3(OH)+ can greatly promote the adsorption of OL on hydroxylated quartz (101). In addition, Mulliken population analysis together with electron density difference analysis intuitively illustrated the process of electron transfer and the Ca-bridge phenomenon between the hydroxylated surface and OL ions. This work may offer new insights into the interaction mechanisms existing among oxidized minerals, aqueous medium, and flotation reagents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of the Heap Leaching Process through Changes in Modes of Operation and Discrete Event Simulation
Minerals 2019, 9(7), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070421 - 10 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The importance of mine planning is often underestimated. Nonetheless, it is essential in achieving high performance by identifying the potential value of mineral resources and providing an optimal, practical, and realistic strategy for extraction, which considers the greatest quantity of options, materials, and [...] Read more.
The importance of mine planning is often underestimated. Nonetheless, it is essential in achieving high performance by identifying the potential value of mineral resources and providing an optimal, practical, and realistic strategy for extraction, which considers the greatest quantity of options, materials, and scenarios. Conventional mine planning is based on a mostly deterministic approach, ignoring part of the uncertainty presented in the input data, such as the mineralogical composition of the feed. This work develops a methodology to optimize the mineral recovery of the heap leaching phase by addressing the mineralogical variation of the feed, by alternating the mode of operation depending on the type of ore in the feed. The operational changes considered in the analysis include the leaching of oxide ores by adding only sulfuric acid (H2SO4) as reagent and adding chloride in the case of sulfide ores (secondary sulfides). The incorporation of uncertainty allows the creation of models that maximize the productivity, while confronting the geological uncertainty, as the extraction program progresses. The model seeks to increase the expected recovery from leaching, considering a set of equiprobable geological scenarios. The modeling and simulation of this productive phase is developed through a discrete event simulation (DES) framework. The results of the simulation indicate the potential to address the dynamics of feed variation through the implementation of alternating modes of operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Modeling of Interactions between N-(Carboxymethyl)-N-tetradecylglycine and Fluorapatite
Minerals 2019, 9(5), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050278 - 06 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, a flotation collector N-(carboxymethyl)-N-tetradecylglycine (NCNT) was introduced for the purpose of energy-saving, and its adsorption ability on a fluorapatite (001) surface was investigated by density functional theory calculation. The results of frontier molecular orbital analysis of NCNT and adsorption energy [...] Read more.
In this study, a flotation collector N-(carboxymethyl)-N-tetradecylglycine (NCNT) was introduced for the purpose of energy-saving, and its adsorption ability on a fluorapatite (001) surface was investigated by density functional theory calculation. The results of frontier molecular orbital analysis of NCNT and adsorption energy between NCNT and fluorapatite (FAp) showed that NCNT possessed better activity and stronger interactions in the reagent–FAp system than oleic acid (OA). A simulation model revealed that the adsorption positions of NCNT on the fluorapatite surface are calcium atoms, at which NCNT chemisorbed on (001) fluorapatite surface via a bidentate geometry involving the formation of two Ca–O bonds. Flotation experiments verified that NCNT had a good recovery of 92.27% on FAp at pH 3.5, which was slightly lower than OA. Moreover, NCNT was used at 16 °C, which was much lower than the OA’s service condition (25 °C). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heat-Assisted Batch Settling of Mineral Suspensions in Inclined Containers
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040228 - 12 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In mineral processing, the common requirement for progressively finer milling due to the decreasing of ore grades implies the need for more challenging water recovery conditions in thickeners. Several mining operations exist in arid areas, where water recovery becomes critical. The present paper [...] Read more.
In mineral processing, the common requirement for progressively finer milling due to the decreasing of ore grades implies the need for more challenging water recovery conditions in thickeners. Several mining operations exist in arid areas, where water recovery becomes critical. The present paper explores the process of particle separation in batch inclined settlers where the downward facing wall is subject to heating. To this purpose, two-dimensional numerical simulations using a mixture model have been run for a number of combinations of temperature jumps at the downward facing fall, particle diameters, and concentrations. Results show that, for particle sizes on the order of 10 µm, heating has a significant effect on the particle settling velocity at the bottom, but it also promotes particle resuspension, affecting the particle concentration at the supernatant layer. The initial concentration also affects settling: for the concentration range tested (8%–15% by volume), when re-normalized by the average concentration, particle accumulation rates at the bottom were found to be lower for higher average concentrations, thus suggesting that the separation process is more efficient at lower concentrations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Design of Flotation Circuits Using Tabu-Search Algorithms: Multispecies, Equipment Design, and Profitability Parameters
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030181 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The design of a flotation circuit based on optimization techniques requires a superstructure for representing a set of alternatives, a mathematical model for modeling the alternatives, and an optimization technique for solving the problem. The optimization techniques are classified into exact and approximate [...] Read more.
The design of a flotation circuit based on optimization techniques requires a superstructure for representing a set of alternatives, a mathematical model for modeling the alternatives, and an optimization technique for solving the problem. The optimization techniques are classified into exact and approximate methods. The first has been widely used. However, the probability of finding an optimal solution decreases when the problem size increases. Genetic algorithms have been the approximate method used for designing flotation circuits when the studied problems were small. The Tabu-search algorithm (TSA) is an approximate method used for solving combinatorial optimization problems. This algorithm is an adaptive procedure that has the ability to employ many other methods. The TSA uses short-term memory to prevent the algorithm from being trapped in cycles. The TSA has many practical advantages but has not been used for designing flotation circuits. We propose using the TSA for solving the flotation circuit design problem. The TSA implemented in this work applies diversification and intensification strategies: diversification is used for exploring new regions, and intensification for exploring regions close to a good solution. Four cases were analyzed to demonstrate the applicability of the algorithm: different objective function, different mathematical models, and a benchmarking between TSA and Baron solver. The results indicate that the developed algorithm presents the ability to converge to a solution optimal or near optimal for a complex combination of requirements and constraints, whereas other methods do not. TSA and the Baron solver provide similar designs, but TSA is faster. We conclude that the developed TSA could be useful in the design of full-scale concentration circuits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of K-Feldspar and Lime Hydrothermal Reaction: Phase and Mechanism with Reaction Temperature and Increasing Ca/Si Ratio
Minerals 2019, 9(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9010046 - 14 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
To elucidate the physicochemical properties of the artificial silicate composite material, K-feldspar and lime were reacted in mild hydrothermal conditions (different reaction temperatures and various K-feldspar/lime ratios). Formed phases were investigated using various techniques, such as X-ray powder diffraction, the Rietveld method, scanning [...] Read more.
To elucidate the physicochemical properties of the artificial silicate composite material, K-feldspar and lime were reacted in mild hydrothermal conditions (different reaction temperatures and various K-feldspar/lime ratios). Formed phases were investigated using various techniques, such as X-ray powder diffraction, the Rietveld method, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. The analysis revealed that tobermorite, grossular (hydrogarnet), alpha-dicalcium silicate hydrate (α-C2SH), amorphous calcium silicate hydrate, potassium carbonate, bütschliite, calcite, and calcium hydroxide formed with various conditions. Both the temperature and the Ca/Si molar ratio in the starting material greatly affected the formation of phases, especially the generation of tobermorite and α-C2SH. The substitution of H4O4 ↔ SiO4 proceeded with the increase of the Ca/Si molar ratio rather than the reaction temperature and the reaction time. More hydrogen was incorporated in hydrogarnet through the substitution of H4O4 ↔ SiO4 with the increase of the Ca/Si molar ratio in the starting material. Due to the properties of tobermorite as a cation exchanger and its potential applications in hazardous waste disposal, experimental parameters should be optimized to obtain better performance of the artificial silicate composite material from K-feldspar and lime hydrothermal reaction. The dissolution mechanism of K-feldspar was also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing Flotation Circuit Recovery by Effective Stage Arrangements: A Case Study
Minerals 2018, 8(10), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8100417 - 20 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Recovery is one of the most important metallurgical parameters in designing and evaluating flotation circuits. The present study used the recovery arrangement for two and three stage circuits to evaluate the effect of stage recovery on the overall circuit recovery and flotation circuit [...] Read more.
Recovery is one of the most important metallurgical parameters in designing and evaluating flotation circuits. The present study used the recovery arrangement for two and three stage circuits to evaluate the effect of stage recovery on the overall circuit recovery and flotation circuit configuration. The results showed that mainly the highest recovery value should be assigned to the rougher stage in order to achieve the maximum overall circuit recovery. Countercurrent rougher-cleaner and rougher-scavenger circuits, in which recycling streams step back one stage at a time, follow a general rule for the assignment of recovery. Finally, a flotation plant containing six flotation banks was examined as a case study. A program for calculating total circuit recovery, for all possible combinations of recovery was developed in MATLAB software. 720 recovery combinations were evaluated. The results showed that optimal recovery allocation in stages could be effective in achieving overall circuit recovery. It was shown that the use of a large number of stages in some of the flotation circuits leads to the loss of equipment and additional costs. The proposed approach can be employed as an effective tool for designing and optimizing various flotation circuits and their operational parameters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Magnetic Separation Efficiency on a Cassiterite-Bearing Skarn Ore by Means of Integrative SEM-Based Image and XRF–XRD Data Analysis
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090390 - 06 Sep 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Image analysis data obtained from scanning electron microscopy provided data for a detailed evaluation of the separation efficiency for various processes involving the beneficiation of particulate materials. A dry magnetic separation by a drum type magnetic separator served as a case study to [...] Read more.
Image analysis data obtained from scanning electron microscopy provided data for a detailed evaluation of the separation efficiency for various processes involving the beneficiation of particulate materials. A dry magnetic separation by a drum type magnetic separator served as a case study to visualize effects of processing of a skarn ore with a high content of cassiterite as ore mineral (~4 wt%). For this material, iron oxides and silicates are the main gangue mineral groups. Based on the obtained data, partition curves were generated with the help of local regression. From the partition curves, the separation efficiency was evaluated and the relevant particle properties deduced. A detailed analysis of the bias of the quantitative mineralogical data is presented. This bias was monitored and further analyzed in detail. Thorough analysis of feed and products of magnetic separation enabled identification of the most important factors that control losses of cassiterite to the magnetic product, namely the association with iron oxides and particle sizes below ~40 µm. The introduced methodology is a general approach applicable for the optimization of different separation processes and is not limited to the presented case study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Insights into the Configurations of Lead(II)-Benzohydroxamic Acid Coordination Compounds in Aqueous Solution: A Combined Experimental and Computational Study
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090368 - 25 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Novel collector lead(II)-benzohydroxamic acid (Pb(II)–BHA) complexes in aqueous solution were characterized by using experimental approaches, including Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), as well as first-principle density functional theory (DFT) calculations with consideration for solvation effects. The Job plot delineated that [...] Read more.
Novel collector lead(II)-benzohydroxamic acid (Pb(II)–BHA) complexes in aqueous solution were characterized by using experimental approaches, including Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), as well as first-principle density functional theory (DFT) calculations with consideration for solvation effects. The Job plot delineated that a single coordinated Pb(BHA)+ should be formed first, and that the higher coordination number complexes can be formed subsequently. Moreover, the Pb(II)–BHA species can aggregate with each other to form complicated structures, such as Pb(BHA)2 or highly complicated complexes. ESI-MS results validated the existence of Pb-(BHA)n=1,2 under different solution pH values. Further, the first-principles calculations suggested that Pb(BHA)+ should be the most stable structure, and the Pb atom in Pb(BHA)+ will act as an active site to attack nucleophiles. These findings are meaningful to further illustrate the adsorption mechanism of Pb(II)–BHA complexes, and are helpful for developing new reagents in mineral processing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Dissolution Rates of Ag Contained in Metallurgical and Mining Residues in the S2O32−-O2-Cu2+ System: Kinetic Analysis
Minerals 2018, 8(7), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8070309 - 23 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The materials used to conduct kinetic study on the leaching of silver in the S2O32−-O2-Cu2+ system were mining residues (tailings) from the Dos Carlos site in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico, which have an estimated [...] Read more.
The materials used to conduct kinetic study on the leaching of silver in the S2O32−-O2-Cu2+ system were mining residues (tailings) from the Dos Carlos site in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico, which have an estimated concentration of Ag = 71 g∙ton−1. The kinetic study presented in this paper assessed the effects of the following variables on Ag dissolution rate: particle diameter (d0), temperature (T), copper concentration [Cu2+], thiosulfate concentration [S2O32−], pH, [OH], stirring rate (RPM), and partial pressure of oxygen (PO2). Temperature has a favorable effect on the leaching rate of Ag, obtaining an activation energy (Ea) = 43.5 kJ∙mol−1 in a range between 288 K (15 °C) and 328 K (55 °C), which indicates that the dissolution reaction is controlled by the chemical reaction. With a reaction order of n = 0.4, the addition of [Cu2+] had a catalytic effect on the leaching rate of silver, as opposed to not adding it. The dissolution rate is dependent on [S2O32−] in a range between 0.02 mol·L−1 and 0.06 mol·L−1. Under the studied conditions, variables d0, [OH] and RPM did not have an effect on the overall rate of silver leaching. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Trends in Modeling, Design, and Optimization of Multiphase Systems in Minerals Processing
Minerals 2020, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10010022 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Multiphase systems are important in minerals processing, and usually include solid–solid and solid–fluid systems, such as in wet grinding, flotation, dewatering, and magnetic separation, among several other unit operations. In this paper, the current trends in the process system engineering tasks of modeling, [...] Read more.
Multiphase systems are important in minerals processing, and usually include solid–solid and solid–fluid systems, such as in wet grinding, flotation, dewatering, and magnetic separation, among several other unit operations. In this paper, the current trends in the process system engineering tasks of modeling, design, and optimization in multiphase systems, are analyzed. Different scales of size and time are included, and therefore, the analysis includes modeling at the molecular level (molecular dynamic modeling) and unit operation level (e.g., computational fluid dynamic, CFD), and the application of optimization for the design of a plant. New strategies for the modeling, design, and optimization of multiphase systems are also included, with a strong focus on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and the combination of experimentation and modeling with response surface methodology (RSM). The integration of different modeling techniques such as CFD with discrete element simulation (DEM) and response surface methodology (RSM) with artificial neural networks (ANN) is included. The paper finishes with tools to study the uncertainty, both epistemic and stochastic, based on uncertainty and global sensitivity analyses, which is present in all mineral processing operations. It is shown that all of these areas are very active and can help in the understanding, operation, design, and optimization of mineral processing that involves multiphase systems. Future needs, such as meso-scale modeling, are highlighted. Full article
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