The Gold Fields Cerro Corona copper-gold deposit in Peru has heterogeneous rock characteristics in terms of its mineralogical, geological and geotechnical properties. Blast design variations in these conditions directly impact the run-of-mine (ROM) fragmentation, which in turn influences downstream process efficiencies. In particular, when harder ore is processed, throughput and circuit performance may be limited.
To evaluate the potential to increase throughput and improve overall plant performance by optimising blasting practices and comminution circuit operation, Gold Fields La Cima engaged Metso Process Technology and Innovation (PTI) to conduct a full process integration and optimisation project at Cerro Corona. Blasting, crushing and grinding processes were reviewed to identify the potential to achieve substantial improvements in productivity when treating the most competent ore types.
Site-specific models of the blasting, crushing and milling processes were developed using SmartTagTM ore tracking technology for calibration and validation. Ore tracking permitted locations in the blast volume to be queried against the geotechnical block model to determine the hardness and structural parameters of the feed to the comminution circuit. They also ensured surveys were conducted when ore from the audit blast was flowing through the crushing and grinding circuits.
The predictive models developed enabled PTI to demonstrate how changes in blast design influenced both ROM fragmentation and the performance of downstream comminution processes. Outcomes of the project suggested changes to blast designs and comminution practices, and these were partially implemented for a validation trial. The trial demonstrated a 14.8 per cent increase in mill throughput for the specific ore selected for the study, and an average increase of 5.7 per cent for all ore types. There is potential to further increase throughput and process performance if all recommendations are implemented. This paper describes the methodology used and benefits to the operation from the mine to plant.
La Rosa, D, Caron, K, Valery, W, Diaz, R and Mamani, H, 2015. Blast fragmentation impacts on downstream processing at Goldfields Cerro Corona, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 333–342 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).