March 10th, 2004
IRIAN JAYA, Indonesia - The massive PT Freeport Copper Gold Mine, located in remote Irian Jaya, has recently completed commissioning of a new Knelson-based gravity circuit for the recovery of free gold. The PT Freeport Mine operated by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., is now the world's largest single installation* of Knelson Concentrators, consisting of twelve 300 tph KC-XD48.
Freeport mines 240,000 tonnes of ore per day and is slated to produce 1.4 billion pounds of copper and 2.6 million ounces of gold in 2003. It boasts the title of the world's lowest cost copper mine and is the world's largest gold producing operation.
The PT Freeport project is an example of a complete gravity solution implementation.
In August 2001, samples were shipped to Knelson Gravity Solutions (KGS) in Canada for testing at the Knelson Research and Technology Centre (KRTC). The industry standard Gravity Recoverable Gold (GRG) test was used to determine the maximum theoretical portion of the sample that could be recovered by gravity concentration.
The results of the testing were documented in a metallurgical test report that was used in conjunction with independent lab testing commissioned by Freeport as the basis for the implementation of a full-scale pilot plant.
Throughout the sample testing and evaluation phase, discussions were ongoing between technical staff of PT Freeport, KGS and ConSep Pty., the Australian based licensed manufacturer and product representative for Knelson who are responsible for the Freeport site.
The results of the KRTC metallurgical testing and predictive modeling using KC-MOD*Pro were sufficiently encouraging to justify the installation of a full-scale pilot plant on one of the six milling circuits.
The pilot plant consisted of two KC-XD48 Knelson Concentrators, a 2.4 x 6.1 m vibrating screen, in addition to all of the steelwork, pipe work, pumps and hoppers necessary for the gravity trial.
KGS and ConSep worked together to fast track the delivery of the turn-key gravity circuit, which was designed, manufactured and delivered to site within 16 weeks of order confirmation.
The pilot plant trial proved that gravity concentration at PT Freeport could provide a significant increase in overall plant recovery, which led to the justification of the full-scale installation.
Immediately following the pilot test a proposal for a complete gravity circuit installation was approved by Freeport that included twelve (12) Knelson XD48 concentrators. Each of the six ball mills in PT Freeport's C3 & C4 circuits were fitted with two (2) KC-XD48 units.
ConSep Pty. and Knelson Gravity Solutions were to jointly manufacture the Knelson concentrators, with ConSep also supplying screens, pumps, piping, samplers, and construction supervision for the gravity circuit installation.
The PT Freeport Gravity circuit was commissioned in phases over the course of 2003. The size, scope and remote location made the project a major challenge for all stakeholders. Knelson Gravity Solutions and Australian partner ConSep Pty. are proud to have been chosen by PT Freeport as the technology providers for this world-class mining operation.
Knelson Gravity Solutions (KGS) is Knelson's technical services division and caters to clients requiring gravity concentration expertise and turnkey processing solutions. Recognized worldwide for the Knelson Concentrator, KGS markets mineral processing products, and provides gravity testing, circuit modeling, process development, detail engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation and commissioning services for fully integrated modular gravity circuits for its global clients.
*Norilsk Nickel is the largest user of Knelson Concentrators with twenty-four (24) Knelson XD48 concentrators in service in 4 separate locations.
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