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Optimization for Mineral Processing Plants (4 replies)

10 months ago
Hauptsturm 10 months ago

"We can only manage what we measure and we can only optimize what we control," argues Michael Schaffer of Portage Technologies, and today this is possible for mineral processing circuits. The results are increased throughput and improved recovery...

Marshal Dienes
10 months ago
Marshal Dienes 10 months ago

When optimizing a process, instrumentation and control are important, but it is possible to have too much instrumentation and thus lose control. Getting overwhelmed with information, especially non-critical information is very easy. Managing the flow of data, and checking its reliability (as separate from accuracy) is important. 

For best optimization of a process you first have to know the process, and by this I mean a level beyond just understanding. From this point you then need to select the data that is important and not just good to have. Then verify the data.

Tony Verdeschi
10 months ago
Tony Verdeschi 10 months ago

Thanks your comments on "too much information" making things more difficult - I have always wanted to mention this. Data selection, as you say, is important.

Another way to look at things is:

  • You will already know the grind targets for best recovery.
  • You will also know that there may be a possibility in improving throughput.

Check your data on P80 of your primary mill or the percentage underflow of your cyclones.
Then create a new TARGET for grind and throughput - striving to achieve this IS optimization.

Creating these new targets is not just fantasy, or hopeful wishing, it is the challenge that you give the operational people and your suppliers. Crusher gap, SAG aggression, ball mill strategy of media - all most likely possible opportunities. Then begin the fine tuning.

10 months ago
Standartenfurer 10 months ago

In my opinion this is an excellent presentation on what is possible in process control to optimize processing plants. It is interesting to note that feed variability is blamed for most issues, so that much more emphasis should be placed on combined optimization of mining and processing, including blending for grade, mineralogy, hardness and transfer size. The possibility for blasting control over mill feed size is a big opportunity for cost reduction. In my experience, the process plant drivers are: uptime, throughput, concentrate grade and finally optimization. It is not easy to demonstrate that an improvement of 2% has actually been achieved in any process measurement with a high statistical confidence level, especially with high feed variability. Instrumentation and process equipment must be maintained at a high standard to achieve significant benefits. This requires the maintenance and operating team to work together to get satisfactions from a plant working at its best. Convincing managers that high expenditure on a complex process control system is no easy task.

Jean Rasczak
10 months ago
Jean Rasczak 10 months ago

The use of modern, online analysers permits real time blending to achieve the desired homogeneity in plant feed.

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