The Masbate gold deposits are situated on the island of Masbate, 350 km south of Manila. A new plant was commissioned in April 2009. The grinding circuit consists of one semi-autogenous (SAG) mill Ø9.75 m × 4.27 m, two ball mills Ø5.6 m × 7.1 m and a pebble crushing circuit, which is usually called a SAG-ball mill-crusher configuration.
The SAG mill was originally equipped with radial pulp lifters. The mill runs at fixed speed of 10.9 rev/min, which is approximately 80 per cent of critical speed (per cent CS). Due to the high speed of the mill the original radial design pulp lifters presented a high volume of recirculating load inside the chamber and consequently heavy wear on the outer circle (bottom pan).
In order to address the high wear on the pulp lifters a number of avenues were considered in early 2011. The chosen solution was to change the geometry of pulp lifters from radial to curved design. The pre-existing drilling pattern on the discharge end of the mill was a major constraint. A number of designs were considered. The selection of the most suitable option was to be made based on 3D discrete element modelling (DEM) and smoothed particle hydrodynamic (SPH) simulations.
The original radial design and two potential solutions for curved pulp lifters were simulated with 3D DEM and SPH software. The main three objectives were predicting the charge dynamics, the expected wear patterns and discharge efficiency. One of the solutions was chosen and implemented during 2012.
Observations carried on after installation of the curved pulp lifters have confirmed, as expected, a reduction in wear intensity on the outer pulp lifters. In addition to this, at early stages of operation with curved pulp lifters, the mill operator noticed a reduction in energy consumed by the mill with no detrimental effect on mill performance.
This paper is intended to further study the effect of curved pulp lifters on mill energy consumption.
Ciutina, S and Soriano, R J, 2014.
Curved pulp lifters – can they save energy?, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill
Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 109–116 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).