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Metallurgical Accounting Standards in Process Plants


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Author D E G Connelly


Metallurgical accounting can be defined as the monitoring of the valuable
metals from the time the ore is broken at the primary crusher until the time
that we have the saleable products and residues. The overall purpose of
metallurgical accounting is to provide management with up-to-date inform- ation
that can be used to control mining and metallurgical oper- ations. The decisions
that are taken on the basis of the information that the metall- urgical
accounting system provides should result in improved control and, ultimately,
increased revenue. The current state of accounting is a result of an extended
evolutionary process and will continue as process plants bec- ome more
sophisticated. Differences in mine ‘call factors’ and grade control
reconciliation can lead to frustration between the site’s geoscie- ntists and
its metallurgists leading to a level of distrust in the mill grade.

Metallurgical accounting is not included in sufficient detail in
undergraduate courses and the acceptable industry standards have developed based
on what is considered acceptable to industry personnel and consultants. There is
now the AMIRA P754 Metal Accounting, Code of Practice and Guidelines
or reference manual. Computer based databases and spreadsheets have
transformed tedious bookkeeping into an important management tool. Over time
these standards have improved with developments in analytical procedures,
weighing technology and sampling.

This paper provides anecdotal examples of problems and improvements observed
over a number of years within the gold industry in Australia and