Sunday, 8 March 2015

A century of innovation in flotation chemistry research

The history of mineral flotation is a record of over a century of impressive innovations, especially in the development of flotation chemistry and chemicals, the principles of their action, their manufacture and the role they play in sustaining efficiencies and productivities even as the quality of ores declines and the severity of the challenges increases.
One of the oldest manufacturers of flotation chemicals is Flotation '15 sponsor Cytec Industries, Inc. of USA, who celebrate their centenary this year. In 1915 Cytec, then American Cyanamid, entered into mining and introduced the AERO® brand, a technology to extract gold and silver from low‐grade ore. Since that time, Cytec has introduced hundreds of new technologies and has been granted on average 40 new patents per year.
Today, one of the key challenges facing the industry is improving the efficiency of metal and mineral separation and extraction in ores that have reduced metal content. Another challenge is the need for localization of plants and refineries across the globe. As the global awareness shifts and new mines get started in new countries, Cytec has increased its global presence by expanding plants in India and Canada and continue adding professionals across the world with unparalleled expertise in supply chain and local service requirements.
Perhaps the most well known member of the Cytec research team is Principal Research Fellow Prof. D.R. Nagaraj.  "Nag" as he is popularly known, started his career at Cyanamid in 1979 after his doctorate from Columbia University, and held various positions in Cyanamid/Cytec over the years, but never far from science, research, and education which are his passions. To commemorate Cytec's centenary, Nag will present a keynote lecture at Flotation '15: Evolution of Flotation Chemistry Research: A Century of Innovations and the Emerging Challenges. He and his co-author, Raymond Farinato will emphasize the major innovations that have directed progress on this subject, especially those innovations that have positively impacted industrial scale applications. An analysis will be given that organizes the evolution of flotation chemistry and reagents into four historical and one emerging period. As in many other technology areas, flotation chemistry research and development have reached a plateau in the face of mounting industry challenges related to water and energy consumption, decline in the ore quality, and environmental aspects.  Breaking out of this plateau will require several necessary steps, including more detailed, holistic understanding of practical systems, development of novel technologies and chemical schemes, and finally adoption by mineral processing practitioners. Success of developing novel technologies will be greatly improved when we can confront the chemical complexity in flotation systems. This in itself is one of the grand challenges in the emerging period. Nag and Raymond will outline some directions to achieve this goal.
Nag (3rd right) with some of the Cytec team at SME 2015


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Cytec - and great news Nag, that you will be giving a keynote at Flotation this year !!
    I am looking forward to it already - I trust that it will be suitably controversial!


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