Improved performance through tailored solutions
Outotec Performance Solutions involve much more than a range of products and services. By taking this kind of holistic approach Outotec aims to improve its customers’ operations and business efficiently and sustainably. The starting point for any Performance Solution is always the customer’s specific problems or needs.
Our customers face many challenges:
- Tightening competition
- Ageing equipment
- Safety of personnel
- Demands set by environmental regulations
Customers have a variety of different needs, stemming from their individual operating environments and parameters. It is therefore not possible to provide one single solution to answer every problem. Instead of jumping straight in with a set of technology and products, Outotec carefully analyzes the challenges faced by the customer, identifies the factors behind them, and then creates a tailor-made solution, combining both technological and service products.
Performance Solution projects are carried out in four stages:
CASE: Flotation retrofit boosts performance at Yamana Gold’s mine
At Yamana Gold’s gold and copper mine, the identification of flotation issues led to a turnkey retrofit project that has generated significant improvements in recovery rates, while also reducing energy consumption.
Yamana Gold is a Canadian-based gold producer with mines and operations in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The company’s Chapada open pit gold and copper mine in Brazil began production in 2007.
When it comes to the efficient mining of precious metals, flotation performance is of the utmost importance.Outotec’s role in improving Yamana Gold’s operational efficiency began with the delivery of a Courier on-stream analyzer, which Yamana’s personnel used to assess the performance of their processes. Their analysis showed that considerable amounts of gold and copper had been ending up in tailings. The flotation cells, provided by another supplier, were prone to sanding, which caused repeated disruptions in the flotation circuit.
Yamana conducted a thorough evaluation of alternative courses of action, and then turned to Outotec, whose metallurgical and mechanical assessments showed large potential for improvement in the flotation process. In March 2016, a turnkey retrofit project of 10 non-Outotec flotation cells with Outotec TankCell® and FloatForce® technology was initiated.
“The Yamana Gold case is a great example of the benefits of paying attention to resource efficiency,” says Miika Tirkkonen, Senior Manager, Service Product Management. “Valuable material was being continuously lost due to inefficiencies in flotation, and recovery was unsatisfactory. By modernizing the equipment, Outotec was able to improve both the productivity and the energy efficiency of the flotation process.”
Savings from minimized shutdown time
The project scope included
- Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studies
- basic and detailed engineering
- shutdown planning
- delivery of proprietary equipment
- turnkey installation, commissioning
- assisted operation
- advanced training of on-site personnel
Customized steel works were manufactured in Brazil, which enabled short delivery times, contributing to the flexibility and overall efficiency of the project. Outotec also provided all installation and commissioning personnel, except for certain locally contracted electrical specialists. In total, more than 80 Outotec experts took part in the modernization, working in two shifts to ensure the efficient use of the available time.
Minimizing shutdown time and production loss was naturally vital to the customer. Outotec was able to answer this challenge with a tailored concept that took the project’s total cost and return of investment into consideration. The second bank shutdown took only six days, instead of the planned eleven, saving valuable time and allowing Yamana to restart operations sooner than anticipated.
Operator training provides added value
In addition to the retrofit, Yamana needed a dependable partner who could help the company improve its operations on a continuous basis, and Outotec was happy to step forward. Outotec provided Yamana with advanced operator training, using its Virtual Experience process to familiarize the mine operators with the technology and instructing them in its efficient use.
“Outotec is best known for its technological solutions, but we also give great importance to our service offering,” says Annami Toukoniitty, Director, Services Business Development. “The skilled operation of a mine’s technological assets can have a profound effect on its profitability as well as its maintenance needs. By offering elated training services we can give added value to our customers.”
Yamana Gold’s flotation issues were successfully resolved, creating major benefits for the mine, including:
- Greater stability and control of flotation cells, allowing for increased process optimization
- Significantly reduced energy consumption, thanks to the use of Outotec cells (40%)
- Minimized sanding, and increasing flotation circuit availability
- Improved flotation performance, enhancing the recovery of both copper and gold
Cooperation between Yamana Gold and Outotec is now continuing with the identification and removal of other potential bottlenecks, which will further improve the performance of the entire facility.
“The close cooperation between Outotec and Yamana has helped us to plan and implement the retrofit project in an atmosphere of mutual trust, creating a solid base for continued partnership,” explains Miika Tirkkonen.
Yamana Gold retrofit project
- Customer: Yamana Gold
- Project site: Chapada open pit gold and copper mine in Brazil
- Challenges: unsatisfactory flotation performance; repeated disruptions due to sanding
- Solution: retrofit of 10 flotation cells with Outotec technology
- Results: improved flotation performance, availability and recovery