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Developing Process Control Standards for Optimal Plant Performance at PanAust Limited


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Author D Baas, D Bennett and P Walker


This paper describes how Brisbane-based PanAust Limited develops process control strategies that are implemented at all operations and are used in functional descriptions for plant upgrades and new projects.

The process control strategies are determined by operating management philosophies designed to maximise returns from the company’s assets.

The approach is endorsed in the project planning and design phases to ensure facilities and equipment that form the major production assets are fit for purpose and capable of enabling the production managers and operators of the projects to maximise shareholder returns.

PanAust’s process control approach has been to develop sets of process control standards which focus on two key areas. The first area covers hardware requirements and architecture, software objectives, control models and individual loop tuning methods. The second area defines control room layout, graphic standards and the alarm philosophy. The application of these standards in a new plant or upgrade decreases the time required to achieve design capacity and optimal performance.

The PanAust process control strategy changes the operator’s role from one that controls a number of individual loops to one that sets the control objectives of the processing plant. To achieve optimal performance, all the process areas of the plant are analysed to identify opportunities to improve throughput, recovery and stability. Once a key opportunity is identified, a process control strategy is developed which defines the objective of the control, its functionality and how an operator will interact with it. After development of the control model the operators assist engineers to test and debug it. Once the model is robust, it can then be duplicated throughout the group and developed as a group process control standard.


Baas, D, Bennett, D and Walker, P,
2014. Developing process control standards for optimal plant performance at
PanAust Limited, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference
, pp 325–334 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).