CiDRA Minerals Processing, together with KROHNE Australia, has announced the successful completion of a trial at BHP Billiton’s Worsley Alumina Refinery, one of the biggest and most efficient alumina refineries in the world. The trial was conducted by Worsley’s engineering tech team, who chose CiDRA’s SONARtrac® flow monitoring system to measure the bauxite slurry flow and entrained air in a classifier feed line. The accuracy and repeatability of the SONARtrac system has enabled the team to optimize the grind strategy to maintain linearity between the circulating load and mill feed. This refined grind strategy ensures an optimal feed rate to maximize throughput while avoiding mill overload.

Worsley Alumina is a joint venture operation between BHP Billiton (86%), Japan Alumina Associates (Australia) (10%) and Sojitz Alumina (4%). Located in Western Australia, operations include a bauxite mine and an alumina refinery. Worsley Alumina is the manager of the joint venture.

Achieving a high level of process control without significant human labor requires instrumentation that is precise, reliable and robust. CiDRA SONARtrac systems were chosen because of the non-intrusive, volumetric flow technology that is immune to scaling effects and eliminates human interaction in potentially dangerous liquor and slurry applications. KROHNE Australia, CiDRA’s exclusive representative in Australia, is providing in-country support in addition to the support provided by CiDRA’s headquarters in the US.

CiDRA’s SONARtrac flow technology is a new class of industrial flowmeter, utilizing measurement principles that are distinct from all other flowmeter technologies operating in the mining industry. SONARtrac non-intrusive flow monitoring systems do not make contact with the slurry and can be removed and reinstalled when it is necessary to replace the pipe. In addition, SONARtrac systems demonstrate a very stable output in the presence of a variety of ores, and demonstrate superior levels of performance. This passive, sonar-based technology enables measurements of single phase and multiphase fluids, as well as slurries, with the same level of accuracy and performance.