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Pilot plant acquires next-generation froth flotation cells

The new froth flotation cells are part of the development of GTK Mintec in Outokumpu from a conventional pilot plant towards a modern mineral processing research and development platform, being the best in the world.

Froth flotation cells are used in the enrichment of circular economy materials, as well as battery, base and industrial minerals. The technology has been used for more than 100 years. The new cells to be started in the summer of 2021 will be operated alongside with froth flotation cells that have been used since the 1980s. GTK received ERDF funding for the acquisition from the Regional Council of North Karelia.

“This investment aims to strengthen the expertise of the mineral sector as a whole. With this acquisition, we can improve and expand our ability to serve our customers in increasingly demanding research activities”, says Mika Nykänen, GTK’s Director General.

The next-generation froth flotation cells feature smart sensors and sensing elements. They enable improved monitoring and process planning in enrichment research. The modern cells respond to modern challenges in the circular economy and mining industry even better.

“Using these new froth flotation cells, our domestic and international customers can use highly modern technology in the study of battery minerals and recycled materials, among others”, says Jouko Nieminen, head of unit at GTK.

GTK Mintec’s continuously developed research infrastructure enables close cooperation with Finnish technology and measuring equipment manufacturers. The new froth flotation cells will be delivered by Metso Outotec. The delivery consists of some twenty froth flotation units and additional equipment.
“GTK and Metso Outotec work for a sustainable and competitive mining industry. We are satisfied that GTK selected Metso Outotec’s advanced froth flotation technology at its test plant”, says Stephan Kirsch, president of Metso Outotec’s Minerals business area.

Modern equipment also plays a significant part in the planning of material-efficient processes of the future when enrichment solutions are applied to diverse poor source materials. This equipment will be significant for development activities in North Karelia and Finland’s mining industry as a whole.

GTK Mintec has more than thirty years of experience in enrichment studies of minerals, metals, recycled materials and industrial side streams in Finnish and international research and development projects.

Further information:
Metso Outotec’s bulletin
Jouko Nieminen, head of unit, +358 29 503 2180


This is how froth flotation cells work

This is how froth flotation cells work:
Pulp that contains minerals to be enriched is mixed with the chemicals required and fed into froth flotation cells. A froth flotation cell is a vessel, in which the pulp is mixed and into which air is fed. Chemicals are used to make some minerals repel water so that the minerals adhere to air bubbles are rise to the surface. Separation is also boosted using other chemicals, such as frothing agents, that promote the formation of a stable froth and help water-repelling minerals to remain on the surface.