The Mount Carlton project in Queensland's North East sits on a high-sulphidation epithermal style deposit rich in gold, copper and silver.
Mt Carlton is an open pit mining operation with ore processed using a primary crusher, single stage SAG mill and flotation to produce a concentrate for sale. Orway Mineral Consultants (OMC) was involved in the original design of the comminution circuit and the project was commissioned in late 2012, with first concentrate shipped in March 2013. When Evolution sought to optimise the project in 2015, OMC was invited to assist by undertaking a circuit review to identify opportunities for the optimisation.
During 2016, the Mt Carlton site team implemented the optimisation strategies developed in conjunction with OMC. These included reconfiguring the SAG mill discharge arrangement, reducing the average ball diameter and allowing the mill to operate at higher speed and under more autogenous conditions. Cyclone operation was changed to constant pressure and the vortex finder size was decreased.
The combined strategies improved energy efficiency and allowed higher SAG mill power utilisation. The additional power has been used to increase throughput by 2.4 per cent while achieving a 27µm reduction in product size (P80) to gain downstream recovery improvements. The reduction in grind size has been achieved with only 6.8 per cent increase in specific energy consumption because of a 6.5 per cent increase in grinding efficiency. The circuit product size is also notably more consistent due to the improvements made to the cyclones, providing benefit to the downstream flotation circuit. A significant decrease in ball consumption was also gained, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in operating cost.
This paper will discuss the circuit design, start up and will detail the changes made during the optimisation and why these were successful.
Putland, B, Lovatt, I, Cervillin, A and Schwann, D, 2018. Mount Carlton comminution circuit design, start-up and optimisation, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 517–528 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).