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Controller Implementation to Improve Phosphate Recovery at PCS Phosphate’s Swift Creek Mine



This report describes a straightforward algorithm or approach for controlling phosphate processing plants. The approach described, termed the “Control Curves Approach,” relies on a priori analysis of large amounts of operating data from the plant. The PCS Phosphate’s Swift Creek Mine outside of Lake City, FL was almost ideally suited for this task due to the existence of an MNR and associated data acquisition system. The data for the current study was collected over several months, then analyzed using spreadsheet macros written specifically for the task. This data analysis is straightforward and critical to the development of the Control Curves Approach. Upon completion of the data analysis portion of the development, the Control Curves Approach is easily encapsulated in a few spreadsheet commands implemented in the form of macros. This report describes the Control Curves Approach, presents its implementation in a computer spreadsheet, and describes the results of implementing the control system at PCS Phosphate’s Swift Creek Mine plant. Results indicate that the Control Curves Approach allows for plant recoveries equitable to those achieved by human operators. However, the Control Curves Approach achieved its level of performance while utilizing far less conditioner than required by the human operators to achieve the same levels of performance.