Site-based case studies (including data collected from industrial surveys) and their application in evaluating circuit performance, have a significant role in developing reliable process models. Such models are useful to both plant metallurgists and researchers. Appropriate process models enable the plant metallurgist to assess the impact of different operational parameters on the overall circuit performance. They also provide the researcher with a detailed understanding of process behaviour in response to changes in ore characteristics and process conditions (ie plant throughput, ore competence, ore type). Thus enabling the identification of effective operating factors, and allowing them to be ranked in order of their influence on the process response, which eventually develops into a process control tool in the hands of plant operators.
The above approach has been developed and applied at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) separately for both comminution and flotation processes. In recent years, the JKMRC has attempted an integrated approach by developing process models that incorporate the impact of upstream processes on downstream processes. This is not possible using the traditional approach of separate comminution and flotation surveys, so conducting integrated plant surveys is crucial for success in developing integrated process models. This paper summarises industrial experience gained while conducting such an integrated plant survey at Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mining operation near Cloncurry in north Queensland. An appropriate approach should be taken to enable the alignment of different requirements from different processes during the plant survey. This, as well as the challenges faced in integrating comminution process models with flotation process models, are identified.
Yahyaei, M, Vos, F, Powell, M S, Siliezar, J and Perkins,
T, 2014. Challenges in developing integrated process models based on industrial
survey data, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference
2014 , pp 437–446 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).