Newmont has had continuous production at their Ahafo operations, Ghana, since 2006. In 2013, Ahafo initiated an efficiency programme to improve mill performance and reduce energy consumption. Following this assessment, a Turbo Pulp Lifter (TPLTM) was installed in the Ahafo SAG mill in April 2015 to replace the existing radial pulp lifters. Plant operational data showed delivery of a power saving of 10 per cent, an improvement in throughput of 3.3 per cent, with no loss of grind size. Pulp lifter life was also doubled from 11 to 22 months.
However, during subsequent relines when the grates were removed it was found that one in four of the outer pulp lifters were wearing at a faster rate than the remainder. This was investigated by Discrete Element Method (DEM) modelling, which predicted some overtopping and internal recycle within the pulp lifter. Significantly, the model predicted that the recycled material would pass back down every fourth outer pulp lifter, matching the field observations. Subsequently, the DEM investigation was continued and became an R&D project to improve the TPL design. The results are summarised here, leading to the development of the next generation Spiral TPLTM.
Heath, A, Chaffer, S and Asakpo, E, 2018. The development of optimised pulp lifter design for the Ahafo SAG mill using discrete element method modelling, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 585–594 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).