Hyperspectral Imaging for Ore Froth Processing


Closed loop assessment of mineral froth is typically not possible using conventional ore processing technology, because the assessment of product quality and prediction of product recovery require laboratory analysis. However, researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a novel technique for assessing ore froth quality in closed-loop mineral flotation systems using features of the electromagnetic spectrum that relate to flotation process characteristics.

The new technology is used to assess the properties of froth, as well as the properties of the ore from which the froth is produced, to predict the solid-to-bitumen ratio, ore froth processability, fine content, and total bitumen content. The technology could be used to predict the processability of oil sands ore samples.

This new technology can yield a real-time estimate of froth quality in the processing circuit by integrating a sensor in a closed-loop process control system. For the first time, classification of the froth types and feedback and feedforward process control is possible using this technique. This technique for estimating froth quality in real time is offered for licensing.


  • Rapid online analysis of froth quality and mineral processing circuit.
  • Enhanced process control and optimization to reduce problematic effects.
  • Closed loop control of mineral flotation.
  • Predicts solid-to-bitumen ratio, froth ore processability, fine content and total bitumen content.

Potential Markets

The invention represents a valuable opportunity in enhancing bitumen recovery and closed loop control of a flotation system. We are currently seeking a licensee in the oil sands industry. Other areas of interest may include mining industries that use a separation process.

Protection Status

Issued Patent CA 2,780,169

Product Number


Contact Information

Monica Varga
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-5744
​Email: monica.varga@tecedmonton.com