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H. W. SMITH and N. ICHIYEN,

University of Toronto,

Toronto, Ont.

ABSTRACT

balances, based on statistical treatment of all available

data, is presented. An error analysis is included. Examples

show the advantages of the method, and also that such

balances are less precise than might be supposed.

makes possible the on-line computation of metallurgical balances. Finally, the application of steady-state

process modelsu21 for flotation circuit analysis and

optimization requires, as a first step, the computation

of complete and accurate internal metallurgical balances from experimental data.

This paper describes a numerical procedure for

computing mass balances which minimizes specialpurpose programming effort and computer storage

requirements, and which is suitable for both laboratory and plant (including on-line) use. An error

analysis is included.

INTRODUCTION

THE COMPUTATION of metallurgical balances from imprecise analytical data is a frequently occurring problem in flotation plants. In mill practice, very approximate methods have normally been used, due to the

computational difficulty of more accurate statistical

methods. With the steadily growing availability to

mill staff of computer facilities, more accurate methods are now feasible. In addition, the growing use

of on-line X-ray analysis and control computers now

PROBLEM, STATEMENT

Consider a flotation circuit in which streams 1, .. . ,

n have metallurgical compositions given by the composition vectors

=

C*

l

~fl]

ctn

there will be a vector of mass flows within the circuit

w*

H. W. SMITH

wT J

~;

N. M. JCBIYEN

from the University of Toronto (B.A.Sc., 1950) and

M.I.T. (Sc.D., instrumentation and control, 1961). He

served in the Royal Canadian Navy (1945-1966), resigning

to join the University of Toronto, where he is currently

Professor of Electrical Engineering. His research interests include the application of modelling, control and

estimation theory to the improved control of metallurgical

processes. In addition to his university appointment, he is

a consultant to Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd., and a

consulting partner in Urwick, Currie and Partners Ltd.,

Toronto.

NORMAN M. ICHIYEN, a native of Montreal, Quebec,

graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1970. In 1973, he

received an M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the

University of Toronto. His thesis work involved simulation of a complex zinc flotation circuit. His supervisor was

Professor H. W. Smith. He is currently with Atomic

Energy of Canada Limited.

PAPER SUBMITTED: in November of 1972; revised

manuscript received on June 29, 1973.

KEYWORDS: Computers, Process control, Flotation,

Mass balance, Metallurgical balances, Statistical methods,

Flotation.

for the circuit

f; (c( ,

w*) = 0,

i = 1, .. , m.

However, the data available are not the true composition vectors c:, but rather the measured composition

vectors

Ci =

cf

+ e;

The adjustment problem is thus to determine estimates c1, i = 1, ... , m, and

which satisfy the mass

balance equations

w,

f;

<2. w) = o

c7 and w* respectively.

On the assumption that sampling and measurement

errors are Gaussian and unbiased, the maximum likelihood estimate of c,, w is that which minimizes the

objective function

97

00

(Ci -

i=l

C; )

'M"j 1 (Ci -

where

M,

w.

E (e;d )

(i.e. the covariance matrix of sampling and measurement error ) and the prime denotes the transpose of a

vector or matrix.

'Briefly stated, therefore, the problem is: minimize

the objective function

(c, -

i=l .. . -

C;)

f; ([;, ~) = 0.

METHOD OF SOLUTION

COMPUTATIONAL EXAMPLES

nonlinear least-squares analysis, and may be solved

by first-order (Gauss-Newton ) or second-order (Newton-Raphson ) gradient methodsm. However, the computation of the gradient requires significant additional programming which is specific to the circuit

configuration under study. This is undesirable in circuit optimization studies because of the programming

effort involved when many configurations may be

studied. In on-line applications, computer storage is

usually at a premium, and the additional storage requirements of gradient methods are unattractive. For

these reasons, the following direct search method is

proposed:

1. Express the mass balance equations in the form

B (w)c;

to find a minimum over

of J, repeating steps 2 and

3 at each iteration. A suitable method is that of Rosenbrockri , which consists of stages having one one-diAt

mensional minimization for each element of

the end of each stage, the directions of search are

rotated, although still remaining orthogonal, so that

the first search in the next stage is in the direction

found to be most successful in the previous stage. The

search terminates when the minimum is located to a

pre-specified accuracy:x

This method permits the use of a standard program; only the program to evaluate B (w ) is specific

to each application, and this program is very simple.

The search method suggested is easily programmed,

a"ud is effective in the ill-conditioned problems which

occur when recycle streams are large.

Ci)

0.

w,

compute the adjustment to the composition vector which minimizes

and satisfies the mass balance

J for that value of

equations; this is found, by standard minimum varia nce techniques [3J , to be

First consider a flotation circuit having the configuration 8hown in Figure 1. Grab samples were

taken from the eight process streams indicated, and

analyzed to yield the data shown in the first column in

Table 1. The three mass flows indicated in Figure 1

are to be estimated, together with the corrected values

of the twentycfour analyses.

@ ___!!1:.

mi~

R

S

w~

3

FIGURE 1 -

w,c

Zinc Circu it .

3 . Form

c, =

C;

+ OCi

obtained from the authors at reproduction cost.

:and evaluate J (w ) .

Experimental Analysis

Adjusted Analysis

Stream

Cu

Zn

Fe

Cu

Zn

Fe

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

0.163

0.447

0.466

0.140

0.960

0.657

1.020

0.440

3.93

11.63

8.11

0.49

34.64

52.07

42.73

U.86

11.57

12.79

14.35

13.09

14.37

14.67

14.66

13.75

0.170

0.462

0.406

0.136

0.964

0.649

1.009

0.472

3.85

11.73

8.72

0.49

38.85

51.70

37.01

10.75

12.34

13.56

13.45

12.18

14.48

14.56

14.47

13.77

Cu

4.17

3.29

-12.83

- 2.76

0.43

- 1.20

- 1.06

7.38

Zn

- 1.87

0.83

7.48

0.12

12.16

- 0.71

- 13.39

- 9.39

Fe

6.59

6.02

-6.22

- 6.94

0.77

-0.73

- 1.30

0.11

w1=

98

each of the three circuit sections - one each for the

rougher, cleaner and scavenger, and one for the total

circuit. These are:

CD

UNIT

CELLS

l. Circuit:

COPPER

FLOTATION

ZINC

FLOTATION

@)

\J)

WI

w3

2. Scavenger:

FIGURE 2 -

3. Cleaner :

W3C5 -

W1C6 -

W1 +

W2 +~w3) C2 -

(1 -

W1 +

W2)C3 -

W3C5 =

by solving the first three equations are far from satisfying the fourth, and that the results obtained from

the sets of copper, zinc and iron analyses are completely inconsistent.

From the mass balance equations, by inspection,

B (w) =

Flotation Circuit.

W1)C1 =

(w a -

4. Rougher:

(1 -

W2

- (1-wi)

-(1-wi)

Experi menta I

Analysis

Stream

Cu

Adjusted

Analysis

Zn

Cu

Per Cent

Adjustment

Zn

Cu

Zn

---1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1.93

0.45

0.13

0.09

19.86

21.44

0.51

3.81

4.92

5.36

0.41

7.09

4.95

52.10

1.91

0.45

0.13

0.09

20.04

21.45

0.52

4.61

4.58

4.38

0.41

6.91

4.92

51.59

-1.02

0.01

-3.78

2.45

0.91

0.03

l.17

20.94

6.82

18.26

0.09

2.55

0.51

0.98

0

Mass flows (with 503 probable error):

wI =

0

-(wa-W1)

-W3

0

0

the precision of sampling and analysis. It was assumed

that the relative precision of each measurement was

identical and that errors were uncorrelated . On these

assumptions, except for a scale factor,

M i = diag[c; 1 , ... , cr.,]

.067,

w2

= .459,

wa =

-.058.

w 3 = 0.1, a guess based on experience. The direct

search program converged in four stages to the solution

iv,

o.06563

w2=

3.781

wa

= o.5238

and to the corrected analyses given in the second colume of Table 1. The third column gives the per cent

change in the original analysis. The r.m.s. sampling

and analytical error may be approximated by the

standard deviation of the corrections, which is

a =

6.56% .

.06954 .00232;

.07066 .00668.

W2 =

.08964 .00261;

As a second example, consider a metallurgical balance over an entire plant, based on X-ray data. The

plant is shown in Figure 2 and the data in Table 2.

The mass balance equations are:

1. Unit cells

C1 -

(1 -

W1 ) C2 -

W1C5 =

2. Copper section

C1 -

(1 -

W2 ) C3 -

W2C6

= 0

3. Zinc section

(1 -

was obtained by solving the

first three zinc mass balance equations ; this yielded

,v,

wa=

W2)C3 -

(l

- W2 -

W3) C4 -

W3C7

= 0

from which the B(w) matrix is found. In this particular case, the precision of the different X-ray measurements was approximately known from calibration experiments, and the M matrices were based on

these data. A starting value of

was found from

standard two-product formulas:

w,

= o.70, w2 = 0.091,

w3= o.096.

to the solution

iv,

= o.06954,

w2 = o.08964, wa

= o.07066,

will be noted that three zinc analyses have very large

adjustments. As noted in the report from which the

data for this example were takenm, it was later discovered t hat some analyses had X-ray calibration

errors which were unknown at the time.

9S

ERROR ANALYS IS

SENSITIVITY OF SOLUTIONS

des irable to find not only the estimate,

of mass

flows in a circuit, but also an estimate of its probable

error. This is particularly true when large recycle

streams exist, as mass flow estimates are then very

sensitive to data errors. A linear estimate of the

probable error may be found in the following way.

If the mass balance equations are perturbed, the perturbation equations are found to be

w,

Ai(c,) ow

+ B (w) oci

i = l, ... , m.

is the matrix of coefficients obtained by writing the

mass balance equations in the form

A;(c;) w ~ = b (c;) ,

1, . ,m.

flow perturbation

ow= -AtB oc;

where

matrix was computed and found to be

.000135

[(~*-~ ) ~*-~)'] =

.000644 - .000027

.000644 1.197

.1039

-.000027

.1039

.0398

0

w 1 =

0.01161,

aW2 =

1.094,

wa

= 0.1995,

Further, although errors in W1 are nearly independent

of those in W2 and

errors in these last two quantities are strongly correlated (correlation coefficient

0.50). It must be recognized that estimates of mass

flows in large recycle streams are subject to significant error even when sampling and measurement errors are relatively small.

Under these conditions, it is essential to use all

available data, weighted according to precision, and,

in on-line applications, to use time averaging of X-ray

analytical data to reduce random error in the data.

wa,

At = (A:Ai)- 1A:

E[owow'J = At B E[Oc,oc;J (AtB)'.

replaced by the measurement covariance matrix, the

covariance matrix of

is obtained;

CONCLUSIONS

method of obtaining the best estimate of metallurgical

balances, based on proper statistical treatment of the

available data. The error analysis presented allows

estimation of the precision of such balances; in general, this precision is lower than is usually supposed.

To use all the experimental data, the m sets of equations must be combined. It is easily verified that this

is done by forming

A' = [A; M ... A,:.]

B=

B 0

0 B

0 0

M1

M

=I

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

mill staff of the Lake Dufault Division, Falconbridge

Copper Ltd., for allowing plant access and providing

analytical services in gathering the data for one of

the examples used. The work reported was supported

in part by National Research Council Grant A-4165.

. 0

M2

REFERENCES

(1) King, R. P., Model for the Design and Control of

Mrn

(2)

and finding

(3)

covariance are not at hand, the M1 matrices may be

approximated by

Mi ~ a 2 diag

100

[c ..... C; n].

2

(4)

(5)

(6)

Application of Computer Methods in the Mineral hidustry, Johannesburg, R.S.A., April 1972.

Loveday, B. K., and .Marchant, G. R., Simulation of

Multicomponent Flotation Plants, as for (1).

Deutsch, R., Estimation Theory, Ch. 6 (Prentice-Hall,

Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1965).

Rosenbrock, H. H., An Automatic Method of Finding

the Greatest or Least Value of a Function, Computer

J., 3, pp. 175-184, October 1960.

Smith, H. W., and Lewis, C. L., Computer Control

Experiments at Lake Dufault, CIM Bulletin, 62, W

109-115, February 1969.

Penrose, R. A., A Generalized Inverse for Matrices,

Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc., 51, pp. 406-413, 1955.

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