For its extensive practical experience, 911 Metallurgist has a clear understanding of what successful mineral processing engineering is and how to go about achieving it. Your goal is the production of a material that is marketable and returns you and your investors sustainable revenues.
Although improvements to the metallurgical processes have been made over the years the fact is that the unit operations, the machines, those too often called “black boxes” involved have not evolved or changed much since inception. Ore is reduced in size, chemicals are added and minerals separated and upgraded to produce a marketable product. Much of this process is mechanical and generally mistaken for some dark alchemy. We are the Anti-Alchemists.
Our vast experience has been gained through operation and start-up of both small and large scale mining/metallurgical operations in a range of commodities in the base metals (Cu, Pb, Zn) and the precious metals (Au, Ag,)
A solid metallurgist understands, the most important aspect of an operating process is its stability. Simple to say, but generally the most ignored in mineral processing. Linked unit operations require each to be stable, and each contains a different set of variables that have to be contended with. Thanks to some degree of stability: operating changes can be made and evaluated; increases in throughput can be made; and equipment performance improved. The more complicated the processes become, the more difficult it is to achieve and maintain stability. In mineral processing, unlike most processing operations, we have limited control of the main input, the feed ore. In most cases this inherently is variable and usually outside of the processors control.
Because you are too close to your own story, you might not see the forest for the trees and have chaos mistaken for stability. We, you, and your group have been battling plant problems for weeks, you start to accept chaos as a daily state of affair and consider it your new stability.
911 Metallurgist can enter the scene and see what you have become blind to. We can fix issues in ways you never thought possible. Our fresh eyes will open new opportunities for your plant.
Each mineral processing plant is different: with varied ore types, mining equipment, and management (operating) philosophy. The evaluation and prioritisation of variables that affect the plant performance is the primary function. Implementing changes within the constraints imposed can be difficult, as resources may be limited.
Invariably the ability to solve problems can be confusing due the large numbers of variables that may impact the processes. In most cases problems are not metallurgical in nature but rather operational and mechanical. Problem solving is a process and in many operations this ability is absent. All too often many changes are made together without a solution resulting, on more confusion. Most plants learn to live or survive their problems, not to solve them.
- Evaluate process and ore resource.
- Prioritise problems.
- Evaluate resources available to resolve issues.
- Never-ending pursuit of process stability.
- Implement incremental changes, one at a time, towards improving stability and production targets.
- Educate personnel to ‘think’ before problem solving along with stability philosophy.
- Avoid top down management solutions to process problems.
- Encourage attitude that other groups within the organisation are responsible to service the metallurgical process plant towards obtaining production objectives.
- Ensure that there is adequate planning for all groups as this is a vital role to the longer term achievement of goals.