Physical Separation 2017

Event: Physical Separation 2017

Date: 15-16 June 2017

Location: Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

Paper: Integration of coarse separation levers to drive value in mining operations



Integration of coarse separation levers to drive value in mining operations


Grade Engineering




Dr Stephen Walters, Dr Luke Keeney, Carlos Espejel and Dr Ben Adair







Abstract text:

Grade Engineering® is an integrated methodology for deploying a range of coarse separation technologies and operational scenarios in hard rock mining operations to deliver value through early gangue rejection and pay element pre-concentration. Within Grade Engineering® five technology ‘levers’ are recognized that drive coarse separation outcomes (>10mm) - natural preferential grade by size deportment, differential blasting for grade; sensor based bulk sorting; sensor based stream sorting; and coarse gravity separation. In order to assess relative techno-economic merits based on applying individual levers or sets of levers for specific ores and operations, it is necessary to define comparative response attributes through a process of physical testing and simulation. This needs to be done at a range of scales as part of an integrated geometallurgical program.

Outcomes of systematic testing need to optimized for net value; incorporated into the resource block model; and exploited through changes in mine planning and scheduling. The resulting business case needs to address target Capex and Opex components in addition to an increasing focus on social and environmental impacts such as reducing energy or water intensity. The methodology and approach for undertaking integrated Grade Engineering® assessments and identifying high value implementation opportunities will be outlined. Much of this work represents ongoing development supported by a consortium of over 30 Miners, Mining Equipment and Technology Suppliers (METS) and research providers.



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