The Asanko Gold Mine in Ghana started processing ore from the Nkran pit in January 2016 at a production nameplate of 3 Mt/a. The flowsheet is a conventional SAG, ball mill and pebble crusher (SABC) with gravity-gold and carbon-in-leach (CIL) recovery. The nameplate production was comfortably achieved within 3 months, so much so, that it was clear the SABC circuit was capable of processing more than the downstream section of the plant. Consequently, a program of de-bottlenecking was initiated to rectify volumetric capacity constraints. This program was later referred to as ‘Project 5 Million' (t/a) or P5M. Having completed the de-bottlenecking exercise, it became evident that the SABC circuit could not reach 5 Mt/a solely on hard rock from Nkran. The new challenge was therefore to increase the capacity of the milling circuit through a focused comminution initiative that would address the following: geometallurgical treatment plan; upfront fragmentation requirements; installation of feed and mill monitoring equipment; and integration of a knowledge-based control strategy.
This paper takes the reader through the various measures implemented to increase the milling rates and to create a stable/ sustainable control philosophy. As a result of the implementation of advanced mill performance monitoring technology (MillSlicer) and the collaboration between a team of experts in comminution, control and operations, the Asanko Gold Mine process plant feed tonnage has successfully increased from 3 Mt/a to 5 Mt/a.
Bradford, R, Gift-Agbey, W, Grobler, E, Morgan, P and Vorster, T, 2018. Optimisation of Asanko's Obotan SABC circuit to achieve ‘Project 5 Million', in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 477–484 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).