The Jameson Cell was jointly developed by Mt Isa Mines (MIM, now Xstrata Queensland Ltd) and Professor Jameson to address deficiencies in flotation column installations.
Mount Isa Mines had for a number of years operated conventional flotation columns for cleaning duties. Performance of the columns was largely controlled by the columns’ gas hold up and the superficial air rate. It was found that over time the relationship between gas hold-up and air rate dropped off, adversely affecting column performance, and that this drop off was directly related to deterioration in air sparger performance. The spargers required high operator and maintenance input, yet their performance still declined between installation and replacement, reducing plant performance. In 1985 Prof. Jameson was commissioned to undertake a project to improve sparger design thereby minimising column maintenance and down-time. Following extensive research at the Mount Isa site and the University of Newcastle, the concept of the downcomer was developed, where the air and slurry flow co-currently and the air is entrained under vacuum into the plunging jet. Initially the concept of a downcomer was thought of as a new sparger design for a tall column, however further investigation showed that with the majority of particle collection taking place in the downcomer, the collection zone of a column was unnecessary. This led to the development of a much smaller flotation tank and the Jameson Cell as such was born.
Following the development of the downcomer in the mid-1980s a small 2tph Jameson cell was developed and tested at Mt Isa Pb/Zn concentrator. By 1989 the first two full scale Jameson cells were installed in the cleaning circuit in the same concentrator.
In parallel with investigations of Jameson cell use in metalliferous operations MIM and Prof. Jameson investigated the applicability of Jameson Cell technology to the coal industry. This lead to the installation of 6 Jameson cells at Newlands Coal in the Bowen Basin, Australia, for the recovery of coal fines. During the 1990’s, Jameson Cells had great success in coal fines flotation and organic removal in SXEW applications becoming the standard for these applications in Australia.
Since conception in the late 1980s Jameson cells have grown in both physical size and capacity. They now cater for a wide range of feed types, flowrates and tonnages, as well as circuit layouts. The Jameson Cell is a state of the art invention that takes the technology of recovering hydrophobic particles into the 21st century.
The Jameson Cell takes its name from the inventor, Professor Graeme Jameson, of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Xstrata Technology, an operating division of Xstrata Queensland Limited, has the license from the University's commercial arm, TUNRA Ltd, to market the technology worldwide.