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The designed approach to mill liner optimisation – experience at Pustynnoye mine, Kazakhstan


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Author M Powell, M Yahyaei, J Geronimo, Z Yussupova and P Kumar


This work goes beyond the general perception of how the well-known mine to mill process can be applied, by applying deeper knowledge along the mining chain. Grade deportment and dilution are considered at the mining stage, and modelled with the new SMI blast movement simulator, linking with the block model data. Assessing the shift to a considerably more competent section of the orebody is quantified via substantial milling trials at standard and higher-intensity blasts. These were stockpiled for batch processing through the mill to ensure feed integrity. The trial work included operating the mill at widely different fillings to develop Grindcurve milling responses. Additionally, model informed process control is initiated via a mill prediction tool.

It has been found that accounting for blast movement for the higher intensity blasts could generate additional value of around $1.5M per blast. With the high-intensity blast and changing mill control, the plant was easily able to exceed projected mill throughputs with the far more competent Pipeline ore. Strategies to shift the workload and debottleneck the milling circuit were proposed and proven during the milling trials, demonstrating an increase in throughput of 7 per cent despite running at a lower SAG mill speed, and potential of 16 per cent for increasing the SAG mill to standard operating speed. A number of process improvement opportunities have been identified to enhance current productivity and ensure long term capability to process the considerably more competent future ores. All of this is being linked in with the major digitisation program at the Barrick Cortez site, with an objective of linking all the data into a mine-wide process optimisation system, that can embed the processes by providing process-wide data access and production support via the future dynamic models linking ore body knowledge to productivity along the full process chain.


Powell, M, Yahyaei, M, Geronimo, J, Yussupova, Z and Kumar, P, 2018. The designed approach to mill liner optimisation – experience at Pustynnoye mine, Kazakhstan, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 595–612 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).