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The selection, commissioning, and evaluation of a large diameter, variable speed ball mill at Bougainville Copper Limited


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Author Planiva P and Clark G


The latest addition to the grinding circuit at Bougainville Copper Limited is another 5.5m by 7.3m primary mill (No.13). The mill can operate in a primary or secondary mode. Its distinguishing feature is its capability for speed variation, by means of a cycloconverter-fed synchronous ring motor. The engineering and metallurgical reasons for selecting such a drive system are described together with aspects of the installation and commissioning. Results of investigations into the relationship between mill speed and grinding efficiency are presented. It is concluded that mill speed variation within the range 70 to 80% of critical speed has very little effect on grinding performance. Beyond this range, grinding performance deteriorates. The same conclusions were reached when mill speed was varied at reduced ball charge levels.