The Newmont Boddington Gold (NBG) processing plant was designed for 35Mt/y with ball mills expected to deliver a combined new mill feed rate of 4837 tonnes/hr. Since beginning commercial production in late 2009, the plant has steadily increased throughput to meet design capacity in 2014 and reached 37 Mt/y in 2015. Through improved efficiencies, changes to the milling circuit have taken place since commissioning to take the plant beyond its design to an actual throughput of 39.0 Mt in 2017 and a budgeted throughput of 39.4 Mt/y this year.
The NBG milling circuit has four parallel ball mills, each consisting of a 7.9 x 13.4 m ball mill with twin 7.5 MW fixed speed motors in closed circuit with twelve 650 mm cyclones. Each mill is fed by two wet screens with the undersize gravitating to a mill discharge hopper where it is combined with the ball mill discharge and pumped to hydrocyclones for classification. The cyclone underflow is re-ground to a target P80 of 150 µm.
This paper will focus on process improvements made to the NBG milling circuit which include cyclone reconfiguration, fine screen panel redesign, implementation of an expert control system, mill power draw increase and grinding media changes to take NBG beyond its design throughput.
McCamley, C, Petrucci, P and Blay, K, 2018. Going beyond design at Newmont Boddington Gold, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 497–508 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).