1 November 2016: The BHP Billiton Mining for Value project is exploring opportunities to maximise copper output at their Minera Escondida Limitada mine in Chile. CRC ORE has been closely engaged with Escondida personnel in two aspects of the project - Grade Engineering® and the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES).

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  Snapshot of Grade Engineering amenability at Escondida.

This article was published in CRC ORE News - November 2016

Escondida Mining for Value partnership

By David La Rosa, Principal Mining Engineer

1 November 2016: The BHP Billiton Mining for Value project is exploring opportunities to maximise copper output at their Minera Escondida Limitada mine in Chile. CRC ORE has been closely engaged with Escondida personnel in two aspects of the project - Grade Engineering® and the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES).

Exploring opportunities to unlock value and extend the Life of Asset has been the focus of the Mining for Value project at Mineral Escondida Limitada in Chile this year.

CRC ORE has been closely engaged with Escondida personnel in two aspects of the project - Grade Engineering and implementation of the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES).

The initial part of the Grade Engineering study started with a focus on investigating two Grade Engineering levers – natural and induced deportment – and their potential to induce ore upgrading. Key considerations in the evaluation were the financial and technical impacts of being able to increase head grade and metal recovery through the use of these levers.

The IES component of the project has started with the development of an integrated flowsheet of one of the site’s concentrators. In its first on-site project application, initial IES simulations have been run to investigate optimisation opportunities. It is planned that IES will be a valuable part of the project, giving the ability to run quick, accurate simulations right across the mining operation.

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  Cristian Carrasco and David La Rosa on site at Escondida.

The Grade Engineering project required site work by CRC ORE personnel, and this involved several trips to Chile by Luke Keeney, Cristian Carrasco and David La Rosa throughout the year in order coordinate laboratory work, gather data and have face to face meetings with site personnel. Cristian spent significant time on site to ensure that the laboratory characterisation work was conducted accurately and liked it so much he is taking up a permanent role with BHP Billiton based in Chile which will involve frequent site visits to Escondida.

The analysis to date has showed that differential blasting could be an important driver of Grade Engineering value for Escondida. The resultant induced and natural grade by size deportment demonstrated a positive NPV, with a payback period of six years. The differential blasting will now be ranked against other Grade Engineering opportunities.


EARLIER ARTICLE ON ESCONDIDA MINING FOR VALUE PARTNERSHIP

 

This article was published in CRC ORE News - June 2016

Escondida Mining for Value partnership

By David La Rosa, Principal Mining Engineer

 

 

Escondida Mining for Value Partnership

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  CRC ORE technical specialists David La Rosa and Cristian Carrasco on site.

15 June 2016: BHP Billiton, as an Implementation Mining Participant, has nominated its Minera Escondida site for CRC ORE to examine innovative technologies for use within the site’s current Mining for Value Project. The primary purpose of the Mining for Value Project is to focus on improving the grade, throughput and recovery. CRC ORE is working with METS companies on initiatives which could assist BHP Billiton in realising value from collaborative site initiatives.

The initially identified areas of focus for CRC ORE involvement are:

  • Investigating Grade Engineering principles to exploiting heterogeneity through Differential Blasting and Preferential Grade by Size deportment.
  • Utilisation of the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) to optimise parts of the value chain.
  • Utilising CRC ORE expertise on additional identified and agreed opportunities (e.g. sensing/sorting trials, geometallurgy, Blast PSD and ore tracking) throughout the course of the Mining for Value Project.

The partnership is currently focusing on two key areas namely, Differential Blasting and implementation of CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) onto site. This is the first commissioned project using IES, representing a major step forward in the evolution of IES from development status to application in end-user projects.

Los Bronces Advanced Concept Study & Blasting Trial

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  Anglo American and CRC ORE has been working jointly to redesign a new long term mine plan taking into account Grade Engineering principles.

1 June 2016: Anglo American is investigating possible fast-track implementation options at its Los Bronces site based on economic value identified in an extensive Grade Engineering Advanced concept study.

Site trials at Los Bronces have now progressed to technically validate the Grade Engineering opportunities identified in the concept study during which CRC ORE, the site team at Los Bronces and COMET Strategy worked jointly to redesign a new long term mine plan taking into account Grade Engineering principles.

CRC ORE Technical Specialists have spent significant time in Chile working with the site team and the mobile equipment operators.
Three production blast trials have been conducted. These showed that combining preferential grade by size and differential blasting improves Response Ranking numbers by 13% to 26%, noting that this result is highly dependent on underlying Ranking Responses and grade distributions. The result confirmed that grade by size is the primary value driver at Los Bronces, with differential blasting being a secondary driver. The summary outcomes of the three trials were:

  • Blast 1 was conducted in June 2015 with 33kt screened. The screening results produced a Response Ranking of 87. The minus 1 inch screened material represented 27% of the original mass, with an upgrade factor of 1.7 from the head grade.
  • Blast 2 was a differential blast which was done by only varying the charging in the high and low grade zones within the blast block. There was no change to the standard pattern design or any re-drilling conducted on the bench. Based on the screening results, the coarse low grade material had a blast P80 of ~160mm and the fine high grade material had a blast P80 of ~81mm. Results from the blast trial indicate that a good degree of separation was achieved between high grade and low grade material through differential blasting. An Overall Preferential Grade by Size Response Ranking of 80 was achieved, with an induced Response Ranking of 104 in the <1 inch material. This result indicated that the combination of natural and induced deportment provided an additional 13% to 26% improvement on the Response Ranking, dependent on the proportion of high and low grade ore across the bench.
  • Blast 3 was conducted as a “high intensity” blast assessing natural grade by size deportment. The trial assessed the impact of finer fragmentation on metal upgrading response at production scale. An overall Grade by Size Response Ranking value of 78 was achieved which provides an upgrade of 1.87 in 20% of the mass.

The pilot trials validated, at production scale, the upgrading potential of Los Bronces ores through natural and induced deportment. The trials provided Anglo American the confidence to investigate options for moving towards full-scale operational implementation.

 

 

 

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