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Metso Outotec is deploying its Concorde cell flotation technology for a “major nickel producer in Western Australia” with start-up of the new flotation cells set to commence in 2022.

According to a company statement, the producer is one of the largest nickel-producing sites in the world.

Originally invented by Laureate professor Graeme Jameson, the Concorde cell technology implements a high-pressure aerated slurry jet through a choke to force the bubbles and particles to attach.

Jameson’s goal for Concorde cell was to improve ultrafine particle flotation.

Metso Outotec separation business line vice president Paul Sohlberg said the Concorde cell technology has been created with sustainability in mind.

“Metso Outotec is a leading provider of flotation technology. Thanks to intensive research and development efforts, we have successfully developed the new Concorde cell flotation technology for superior performance in fine and ultrafine particle recovery,” he said.

“This is in response to the global industry trend towards efficient use of the earth’s resources with more environmentally efficient technologies for more finely disseminated and complex orebodies.”

The move comes after BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel announced Metso Outotec would be supplying a 16-megawatt semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill to the company’s Mount Keith operation in Western Australia in August.

“The Mount Keith concentrator expansion will involve installing a third and much larger 16-megawatt SAG. Together with the modernisation of the flotation circuit, we will increase the concentrator from 10.5Mtpa (million tonnes per annum) to 12Mtpa, and eventually 15Mtpa,” Haegel said at the 2021 Diggers & Dealers forum.

“The SAG has been ordered from Metso Outotec as a pre-commitment, as the project completes the final detailed design stage, before execution approval at the end of the financial year.”

BHP also suggested they would look to increase recovery of ultrafine nickel particles using Concorde cells from Metso Outotec, with a flash flotation circuit to be completed at Mount Keith by mid-2022.