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An economic approach to optimising mill reline frequency – a case study of SAG mill relines at Rasp mine


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Author C M Standen


The SAG mill at Rasp Mine has undergone a number of liner design modifications since commissioning in 2012, making liner wear and failure difficult to predict from historical data. During 2017, several instances of liner failure or near failure were experienced resulting in unplanned downtime for emergency relines or to patch liners in the lead up to a planned shutdown.

The strategy for relining mills is often to minimise the frequency of relines (and subsequent shutdown costs) by extending liner life, achieved through design modifications. However, it was observed that as the Rasp SAG mill liners wear, mill performance declined with power draw increasing and throughput declining. Opportunity and inefficiency costs start to erode the revenue per additional tonne milled for a given set of liners, and in turn the benefit of delaying relines. As such, optimising the frequency of relines becomes a trade-off between reline costs and opportunity/inefficiency costs in delaying relines.

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a frame work for analysing costs using a marginal economic analysis with the assumption that the Law of Diminishing Returns can be applied to the life of mill liners. The SAG mill operating variables can be modelled to determine their impact on costs and an optimal reline point can be defined where the total costs are minimised. This prevents unexpected failures due to accelerated wear by providing justification to reline earlier and thereby allowing efforts to be focused on sustaining milling performance.


Standen, C M, 2018. An economic approach to optimising mill reline frequency – a case study of SAG mill relines at Rasp mine, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 197–206 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).