Best Practices

Flowsheet Development Series – Tips and tricks

In our current series on flowsheet development, we are taking a deep dive into the process of designing a new minerals processing plant or breathing life into an existing, but underperforming operation. Last week we focused on where to begin. This week we review some best practices.  

Good general practices as you embark on developing a process flowsheet:

Be consistent and accurate in your documentation

  • Use good protocol to log and manage the flow of material through the process.

  • Keep weights, but for flowsheet purposes always translate back to % of head feed.

  • Keep retains.

Don’t assume

  • Be cautious of making flowsheet assumptions based on prior experience and “typical flowsheets.”

  • Consider alternatives and leave time for testing them - this is the only way to be sure the optimum flowsheet is defined.

  • Let the path finding testing and analysis guide the process.

  • Be cautious of preconceived notions when considering what equipment to place in a circuit.
    Example: Magnetic separators - In some cases using a rare-earth drum seems like the logical choice, but tests may reveal a rare-earth roll performs better, and vice versa.
    Example: Spiral selection - Don’t discount a washwater spiral. They have proven effective on more than just fines or iron ore and may work better than a washwaterless model in some applications.

Be Practical

  •  Consider carefully where to place equipment in the flowsheet.

  • Put the more expensive process equipment steps as far back in the flowsheet as possible.
    Example: Only dry your minerals once! Consider using size and specific gravity differences to preconcentrate prior to grinding steps, such as for iron ore.

Your process design will make or break your minerals processing operation. Being thoughtful in your approach and letting the tests drive development are critical to finding the most efficient and effective flowsheet for your unique operation. Next week, we will get more granular with testing and discuss how best to solve for your separation challenges.

If you want to discuss your operation and how best to develop the most profitable flowsheet, Contact IMSC Group’s team of experts.


Misty DobbinsComment