Eriez Manufacturing Co.

Eriez HydroFloat Seperator Reduces Energy, Water, and Tailings Management Costs

Feb. 15, 2022
Eriez has designed the new HydroFloat Separator for coarse particle mineral concentration, delivering the capacity of a density separator while maintaining the selectivity of a flotation device.

According to Eriez, a recent study based on test results supported by an engineering analysis indicates that installing a HydroFloat Coarse Particle Flotation (CPF) system in the mill circuit results in a significant decrease in the mill load, cutting power usage in half.

The findings also show that approximately 30% of the total run of mine mill feed can be removed from the circuit prior to conventional flotation, resulting in a 40% decrease in conventional flotation capacity, a 30 to 50% reduction in grinding energy, and a 30% reduction in tailing management costs.

Eric Bain Wasmund, Ph.D., Eriez Vice President-Global Flotation Business, says, “What our team learned in the lab is now being implemented in the field.”

Wasmund explains, “Some typical North American numbers were provided to show the financial benefits of these improvements.” He adds that results could be even more substantial at more remote sites or those with limited water supply. 

According to Wasmund, Eriez continues to develop and commercialize products—such as HydroFloat—that are based on metallurgical first principles to reduce energy usage.

“Our team is not making the kind of incremental second-order improvements achieved by simply manufacturing bigger unit operations based on current technology. We are instead focusing on completely rethinking the flotation process, which hasn’t fundamentally changed in more than 100 years. This novel approach is giving us the ability to realize revolutionary first-order improvements," says Wasmund.

“The HydroFloat CPF technology creates new possibilities for extraction companies to meet their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals by improving efficiency and enabling better use of resources,” says Wasmund. 

The HydroFloat CPF Separator is an aerated fluidized-bed (or teeter bed) separator that uses the synergistic effect of combining flotation with gravity concentration, resulting in an outcome that cannot be achieved by either approach alone. In the HydroFloat, the air bubbles that are dispersed by the fluidization system rise through the fluidized bed and attach to the hydrophobic particles, altering their density and rendering them sufficiently buoyant to float and be recovered at the top of the cell. 

Check out more of Eriez's separation solutions.

HydroFloat CPF Separators increase bubble/particle collision rates and residence time while decreasing mixing, turbulence and detachment, and buoyancy restrictions. These advantages lead to drastically improved coarse particle recovery.  

The HydroFloatCPF can be applied to sulfides, base metals (e.g., copper, moly, etc.), iron ore, industrial minerals, potash/phosphate, lithium minerals, and others. Applications include Coarse Gangue Rejection - Preconcentration (CGR) and Tailings Scavenging (TS).