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Process Integration and Optimization From Mine-To-Mill

Process Integration and Optimization From Mine-To-Mill

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Published by: José Gregorio Freites on Nov 25, 2012
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Process Integration and Optimization from Mine-to-Mill 
Process Integration and Optimization from Mine-to-Mill
W. Valery, A. Jankovic, D. LaRosa, A. Dance, S. Esen, J. Colacioppo
Metso Minerals Process Technology Asia-Pacific, Brisbane, Australia
Most mining operations continue to function with the mine and concentrator working in isolation. Bothhave separate objectives, separate cost centers and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that do not reflect thecustomer/supplier relationships that inherently exist. Using these KPIs alone, the two entities appear to operateefficiently, however, considering the whole operation, they often operate well below maximum efficiency. Over the past ten years the authors have developed a proven methodology for revealing these inefficiencies and have workedwith operations around the world to significantly increase their production: generating typically 5 to 20% higher throughput.
Fluctuations in ore hardness and feed sizedistribution result in significant influence oncrusher and mill performance. For some opera-tions where feed size is not well controlled thiscreates significant problems with mill stabilityand is understandably seen as a major problemarea. There is an opportunity to improve crushingand milling equipment performance and mani- pulate feed size to obtain efficiency improve-ments. Examples include changes to blasting practices, ROM stockpiling, followed byoptimisation of crushing and grinding circuits.Metso Minerals Process Technology Asia-Pacific (MMPT-AP) has developed and proven aProcess Integration and Optimisation from Mineto Mill (PIO) methodology and demonstrated the positive and meaningful impact of this metho-dology as a whole. Broadly, an extensive charac-terisation and delineation of domains is done, based on rock structure and strength of the entireore body. Then the approach entails increasingand/or better distributing the energy during blasting to produce a muckpile that has anoptimum size distribution for each domain, thedownstream process and product specifications.PIO methodology is based on mechanisticand forward analysis that involves the followingsteps:a)Characterisation and delineation of domains based on rock structure and strength. Themeasurement techniques have been developedand perfected over many years to suit thereality of operating mines in a productionenvironment. As such, the techniques are practical and statistically representative of the entire ore body. They are inexpensive andcan be conducted by the mines themselves,rather than relying on expensive tests con-ducted at specialized labs (e.g. SPI, DropWeight and SMCC tests), which will never  be done in a quantity to statistically re- present the entire orebody. b)Establish process constraints such as wallstability, damage and control, presence of water, ore dilution, muckpile characteristics,size of mining equipment, size and installed power of crushing and milling equipmentand other process bottlenecks.c)Definition of the key downstream require-ments and development of drilling/blastingstrategies for each domain to suit the defineddownstream requirements (milling of ore or waste).d)Use of proven software tools, predictivemodels and simulations in conjunction withmine and plant personnel to establishoptimum operating and control strategies tomaximise overall profit from the blast to themill.e)Implementation and monitoring of thedefined integrated operating strategies(suitable blast designs for each ore domainfollowed by respective optimal crushing andgrinding strategies) and establishment of standards, quality assurance and controlmechanisms.f)Analysis and management of data andresults.
Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)
g)Long term implementation and maintenanceof benefits obtained.The PIO methodology has been applied inmore than 25 operations around the world tosignificantly increase their production: gene-rating typically 5 to 20% higher throughput. Thismethodology has been used for optimisation of existing mining and milling processes and for greenfield studies (Dance et al, 2006; Jankovic etal, 2006; McCaffery et al, 2006; Powell et al,2006; Renner et al, 2006; Tondo et al, 2006).The steps above are focused on thedevelopment of an integrated mining and millingoptimisation strategy to reduce cost per tonnetreated and to increase profitability of theoperation. Part of this strategy is to increase plantthroughput with little or no capital investment, byoptimising rock breakage and fragmentation from blasting through crushing and grinding. Thisshould result in:
increased excavation and loadingefficiencies;
reduced ROM topsize allowing the PrimaryCrusher to achieve greater throughput whileoperating at a smaller gap to produce millfeed with a finer topsize;
reduced SAG mill feed topsize and increased proportion of fines (-10 mm material) toincrease mill throughput with existinginstalled power;
minimal adverse impacts such as dilution or ore loss, structural damage or environmentalnuisance.This methodology can also be applied by themining operations to establish optimum blendingstrategies as well as a model for productionforecasts for the life of mine.
Fracture Frequency (FF) and Rock QualityDesignation (RQD) give a good indication of therock mass structure, which in turn will drive the proportion of coarse material in the blastfragmentation. Fines generation in the blast(material below a few millimeters) is mainlyrelated to rock strength as well as explosive/rock interaction. As the fine end of the ROM sizedistribution curve has a direct impact on criticaldownstream processes, it is important to be ableto accurately predict blast-induced fines so theycan be controlled and their benefits exploited.It is important that for a rock strength test to be successfully used in “Mine-to-Milloptimi-sation, it should be able to relate to both blastability and to high energy/impact breakagein crushers and mills. The rock strength indexshould also generate a reasonable relationshipwith SAG mill specific power.The Point Load test is an index test for rock strength classification that is well known andwidely used in the industry, mainly bygeotechnical personnel. It is commonly used as aquick and simple method to predict UnconfinedCompressive Strength (UCS). The test measuresthe Point Load Strength (Is) and the StrengthAnisotropy Index (Ia) of the rock sample. A sizecorrection may be applied to the sample to yieldthe standard Is 50 and Ia50 values, whichcorrespond to the Is and Ia values for 50mmdiameter core. Rock samples may be in the formof either core (diametral and axial tests), cut blocks (block test), or irregular lumps (irregular lump test). The irregular lump test offers thegreatest convenience, as sample preparation isnot required.Due to the large number of Point Load teststhat can be conducted on site over a relativelyshort period by mining site personnel, it can also be correlated with Drop Weight tests and used asa production tool to assess the rock strengthwithin individual blasts and ore blocks. Researchconducted by MMPT-AP staff and data collectedin a number of operations (including nine copper mines) indicate that the Point Load Index isdirectly related to the Drop Weight test parameters. As the Point Load tester is both portable and easy to use it has strong potential fouse on site for rock characterisation and reducethe need for more accurate and expensive testssuch as UCS, full Drop Weight tests or SMCCtests.Better understanding and characterisation of rock strength should help mining operations todevelop integrated blasting and comminutionstrategies to increase throughput, as well as blending strategies to control variations in mill
Process Integration and Optimization from Mine-to-Mill 
throughput. This methodology has been appliedrecently, very successfully, by MMPT-AP at Newmont Batu Hijau, Phelps Dodge Candelaria,Codelco Andina and Mansa Mina Project inChile, Antamina in Peru, RPM in Brazil,AngloGold Ashanti in Ghana and Zimplats inZimbabwe.Ideally, the Point Load Index tests should beconducted on the drill core samples on whichFF/RQD measurements have also beenconducted. Alternatively, Point Load tests of lump samples collected in the pit can also beconducted to identify rock strength domains.
MMPT-APs methodology includes detailedanalysis of drill core and/or lump sample datawith respect to: rock structure (related to RQD or FF) and rock strength (related to Point LoadStrength). The ore fragmentation domains aremainly determined by these two criteria and notlimited to only lithological and/or alterationdomains.The following additional data is also used tocharacterise intact rock properties: density,Young’s Modulus, Uniaxial CompressiveStrength and full or simplified Drop Weight tests.The MMPT-AP Model consists of thefollowing combined mechanistic elements (Fig.1):
Blast fragmentation model
Primary Crusher model
Milling circuit model (SAG mill, ball mill,cyclone and pebble crusher models)The blast fragmentation model takes intoaccount rock density, structure and strength aswell as blast design parameters of bench height, blast hole diameter, burden and spacing, subdrill,stemming, explosive type, charge length, VOD,etc. Each of these variables have a naturalvariation (e.g. rock strength) and error (e.g. hole position) associated with them. Therefore, astochastic approach is taken in modelling blastfragmentation and these variables are input witha mean and standard deviation.
Primary Crusher Model (MMPTJKSimMet)Ore Characterisation
Lithology zonesRock Strength -PLI-DWi, A x b, taRock Structure-RQD, MappingBlast Design
MMPT BlastFragmentationModel
ROM Ore sizeDistributionSAG Feed SizeDistributionGrinding CircuitModel(MMPT/JKSimMet)
Final ProductSize DistributionTPH
Primary Crusher Model (MMPTJKSimMet)Ore Characterisation
Lithology zonesRock Strength -PLI-DWi, A x b, taRock Structure-RQD, MappingBlast Design
MMPT BlastFragmentationModel
ROM Ore sizeDistributionSAG Feed SizeDistributionGrinding CircuitModel(MMPT/JKSimMet)
Final ProductSize Distribution
Fig. 1:
MMPT-AP modeling methodology
This modelling approach uses Monte Carlosampling followed by model simulation andresults in envelopes of ROM size distributions.Monte Carlo sampling refers to the traditionaltechnique for using random or pseudo-randomnumbers to sample from a probability distri- bution. These techniques are applied to a widevariety of complex problems involving random behaviour.Each Monte Carlo iteration involves obtain-ing an estimate of the model input variables based on their mean value and standarddeviation. The ROM size distribution is thencalculated using the model with these randomlycreated input variables. This process is repeated alarge number of times to obtain an envelope of  possible ROM size distributions based on thevariation in input data. The ROM sizedistribution envelopes are limited by the 5% and95% confidence intervals and can be validatedusing image analysis.The models of the Primary Crusher andmilling circuit are well-established and proven toaccurately predict steady-state behaviour of theseunits and have been incorporated in theJKSimMet simulation program. MMPT-AP hasextensive experience in applying these models;understanding how to interpret their parametersand their limitations.The output from the blast fragmentationmodel (ROM size distribution) becomes the feedto the Primary Crusher model. The crusher modelthen generates a SAG mill feed size distributionwhich is used by the grinding circuit to predict arange of operating conditions from SAG milltonnage, power draw, load to ball mill dischargesize, circulating load, cyclone pressure andoverflow size.

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