Resurrected from its former life at the Big Bell operation, the grinding circuit at Evolution Mining’s Edna May operation in Western Australia has many a story to tell. The task of optimising a plant designed for another orebody provides as many challenges as opportunities. Initially faced with a blend of primary and oxide ore, the circuit achieved in excess of 320 t/h until the oxide was depleted, leaving only the much harder primary feed.
The 2.0 MW semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill and 3.7 MW ball mill were assisted by a 150 kW pebble crusher, but the power limitation of the SAG mill resulted in a drop in throughput. Edna May personnel have been involved in a number of progressive improvements to restore the design capacity of the concentrator and work towards 3 Mt/a or even higher ahead of the gravity and leach recovery circuits.
These improvements include:
- a crush forward configuration of the SAG mill scats
- partial to full secondary crushing
- variable speed drive upgrade of the SAG mill
- lifter and grate design changes
- ball mill circuit grinding efficiency.
This paper summarises the chronology of events that has resulted in
significant improvements in throughput by conventional (and in some cases,
novel) methods of reconfiguring the existing grinding mills. Lessons learned and
hindsight perspectives will be summarised, sharing this educational experience
with other operations in a similar situation.
Dance, A, Atheis, D, Williams, S and Taplin, D, 2014.
Grinding circuit improvements at Evolution Mining’s Edna May operation, in
Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2014, pp 63–70 (The
Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).