In March 2015 Northparkes Mines (NPM) installed a process mineralogy facility on-site. The laboratory included a TESCAN TIMA scanning electron microscope (SEM) and was the first SEM facility to be commissioned on a mine site in Australia. While the initial intent of the quantitative mineralogy laboratory was to provide information to drive processing plant improvements, in practice, it has been utilised for so much more and is now serving as an integral link between departments on-site. This multidisciplinary approach to orebody knowledge is a new strategy for NPM whereby all parts of the value chain are aligned towards the common goal of achieving process efficiency and stability while still maintaining high throughputs. The NPM experience is presented as a case study to illustrate how on-site process mineralogy can drive a realignment in business strategy with a common goal of mill optimisation, stability and more realistic forecasting through orebody knowledge and information sharing between disciplines.
Jones, K and Morgan, D, 2016. On-site Process Mineralogy – Linking Departments and Disciplines with the Common Goal of Increasing Plant Performance, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2016, pp 149–156 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).