The JBI's Alumina Process Pilot Plant
The pilot plant was constructed in 1984 to upgrade the scientific and technological capabilities of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI). Its construction was funded jointly by the Government of Jamaica and the United Nations Financing System for Science and Technology.
The pilot plant was designed with a high degree of flexibility of operation to make it capable of:
- evaluating the processing characteristics of a wide range of bauxite ores, and thereby identifying their attendant processing problems both technical and economic;
- simulating operations involved in the Bayer Process;
- providing facilities for training programmes for bauxite industry personnel;
- testing Chemicals; and
- testing Equipment
The plant is a complete closed circuit Bayer process plant embracing the unit operations of an industrial scale Bayer alumina plant up to the hydrate production stage. It can process a minimum of 20 tons of bauxite continuously over a one-month period. The minimum production rate is 10 kg per hour of alumina. Bench scale simulations are carried out on a number of parameters, prior to the pilot plant study stage. The plant is equipped with online slurry density gauges, magnetic flowmeters, conductivity meters for the measurement of a/c ratios, temperature and pressure recording instruments.
The pilot plant has the capability of processing all types of bauxite, from e.g. Australia, Brazil, Jamaica, etc.
The small scale of unit operations allows for close control and monitoring of processes and the economical testing of all types of blends of bauxites, flocculants, dispersants, coagulants and liquor purification agents as well as equipment including process instruments, agitators, thickeners, pumps, valves and heat exchangers. Steady state conditions are achieved in a short time, and results of tests can be quickly obtained. Process parameters can be varied rapidly and at will.
The plant utilizes a single stream process, which is more energy efficient than the two stream process. The plant has an adequate surge capacity for the movement of fluids from one section to another.