The availability of real-time data in any process control system is critical for effective management of that system. At MMG LXML Sepon Copper Operation in Lao PDR, controlling the copper grade of the feed to the leaching circuit is paramount for maximising both productivity and copper recovery. Since 2008, real-time analysis data has been available to the process engineers from the Geoscan on-belt analyser installed on the Copper Mill feed conveyor, and highly accurate results on copper grade have allowed the process engineers to strictly control blending to overcome the variability in plant feed grade. The availability of real-time analysis data is crucial, as effective sampling of this stream is both difficult and error-prone, being only a snapshot in time of highly variable ore stockpiles, as well as having significant laboratory turnaround delays. Periodic sampling is used to verify the Geoscan data as accurate. Since its installation, the copper result has been the most critical output of the Geoscan. In recent times, the process engineers have sought to utilise other results from the Geoscan to further improve and control the process. One measurement of particular interest involves the real-time measurement of calcium and magnesium as a gauge of ore feed gangue acid consumption. To satisfy this end, accurate measurement of calcium and magnesium is becoming increasingly more important and has been the subject of ongoing collaboration between Sepon and Scantech, the manufacturer of the Geoscan. This paper discusses this work, describing the calibration process and results obtained, while also providing a basis for Geoscan use in operations to enable enhanced process control for all potential Geoscan users.
Balzan, L A, Jolly, T D, Harris, A R and Bauk, Z, 2016. Greater Use of Geoscan On-belt Analysis for Process Control at Sepon Copper Operation, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 231–238 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).