Large hydrocyclone cluster for gold project in West Africa

23rd February 2024

Large hydrocyclone cluster for gold project in West Africa

A Cavex 500 CVX hydrocyclone operating in a platinum mine

Weir Minerals Africa recently manufactured a 20-way cluster of Cavex 500 CVX hydrocyclones, specifically tailored to the classification and processing requirements of a gold project in West Africa.

The company asserts that the hydrocyclone is designed to deliver exceptional operational efficiencies, reduced wear and consistent metallurgical performance. With a design built for longevity, the unit is anticipated to exceed a 20-year lifespan because of its easily-replaceable wear parts.

Weir Minerals Africa product manager: hydrocyclones Lerato Ramanala says the hydrocyclone will be used in a milling application as part of a flowsheet with a high pressure grinding roll and ball mill.  Operating at a relatively low pressure of 73 kPa, the hydrocyclones are engineered to minimise equipment wear under demanding conditions.

“Our design process considered factors such as port sizes and pipe schedules, ensuring obstruction-free operation, even under challenging conditions in which the hydrocyclones have to contend with a wide range of particle sizes. The feed and discharge pipes were engineered to accommodate the required flow rate and pressure, maintaining a launder geometry that ensures optimal slurry levels during regular operation, without any spillage during normal and design operation,” she explains.

The hydrocyclone cluster operates by enabling the overflow to go to the trash screen and the underflow launder diverts the discharge, returning some to the ball mill for further grinding, while the other portion is fed to a gravity circuit.

Ramanala says the hydrocyclone cluster is custom-engineered featuring Cavex hydrocyclones, Linatex rubber linings and Isogate WR valves. She explains that the Cavex hydrocyclone features an innovative 360⁰ laminar spiral inlet that significantly enhances separation performance.

“To prolong wear life and reduce the need for frequent replacements, we've used R55 rubber, a patented Weir Minerals material, in the hydrocyclones’ rubber inserts,” she adds.

To address abrasion resistance, Linatex premium rubber, known to consistently outperform other rubber materials in abrasive wet processing applications, was selected. The integration of Linatex rubber is said to minimise maintenance requirements and ensure optimal equipment performance.

The Isogate WR valve is a lightweight valve designed for a hydrocyclone cluster of this size, featuring advanced rubber sleeve technology for improved wear life and full bore design for unrestricted flow.

“Notably, this is the first greenfield cluster to incorporate Synertrex industrial Internet of Things technology for performance monitoring, specifically to detect any roping or splashing events,” Ramanala says. The proactive performance monitoring platform provides accurate data on cyclone performance, supporting the operator in maintaining optimal operating conditions, and enabling proactive intervention for unforeseen incidents.

Hydrocyclones are said to provide cost efficient separation in mineral processing applications, especially compared to traditional screens. Even with its substantial size, a cluster of this magnitude maintains a more compact overall footprint, facilitating space optimisation within the process plant while still achieving the necessary cut point.

The large cluster was manufactured at Weir Minerals Africa's facility, undergoing trial assembly and quality checks before being disassembled and packaged for shipment to the customer.