The Value of Preventative Maintenance in Flotation and Filtration Circuits

David Tulloch

Outotec Pty Ltd

In recent years it has been observed that site metallurgy, maintenance and reliability teams are becoming increasingly stretched. This becomes particularly apparent during shutdown periods where the mill is the focal point and teams are tasked with focusing on a range of different pieces of equipment supplied by multiple vendors.

In the event of resource constraints, basic preventative maintenance tasks may be ‘pushed out’ into future shutdowns. This often occurs in flotation circuits and may result in costs to production and recovery.

This paper explores the potential to unlock value through the implementation of basic preventative and corrective maintenance practices in flotation and concentrate filtration circuits. An overview of recommended flotation and pressure filter maintenance inspections will be presented, via two case studies.

Firstly, a large copper gold mine in Western Australia where an Outotec pressure filter was installed, resulting in maintenance improvements and an increase in availability from 75% to 85% over the course of 12 months.

The second case study looks at the implementation of a previously introduced performance index applied to flotation maintenance activities at the same copper gold site. The performance index is used to establish baseline performance of the circuit before and after the process plant shutdown in order to assess the impact of maintenance activities on metal production.

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