Technical Report TR095

Publication: Technical Report TR#095

Date: April 2015

Paper: Final report on modelling and predicting mineralogical and textural controls of coarse liberation potential



Final report on modelling and predicting mineralogical and textural controls of coarse liberation potential (Technical Report TR#095)


Grade Engineering




Dr Steve Walters, Dr Yicai Wang and Dr Richard Hartner







Abstract text:

Project P1A-040 – ‘modelling and predicting mineralogical and textural controls on coarse liberation’ ran from July 2012 to January 2014. The principal investigators were Dr Richard Hartner (JKTech) and Dr Yicai Wang (JMRC). Dr Steve Walters (CRC ORE) acted as overall project mentor and manager. The aim of the project was to develop a sophisticated understanding of why certain ore types and mineralisation textures undergo breakage at coarse (100-1mm) scale resulting in preferential deportment of economic minerals to specific size fractions (generally involving metal enrichment in the fines).

The P1A-040 project was related to the Coarse Liberation Circuit project which ultimately evolved into Grade Engineering®. The concept of preferential coarse liberation is now embodied into Preferential Grade Deportment by Size – one of the key levers of Grade Engineering. This has developed routine laboratory and bulk scale testing programs to define preferential grade deportment by size as Response Rankings derived from yield-response curves. The resulting large database of physical testing results shows that preferential grade by size deportment is a highly variable physical response which does not relate to head grade. While intuitively this variable response is regarded as a function of mineralogy and texture, current CRC ORE Grade Engineering application is purely empirical and based on physical test results with no associated predictive models. Predictive models based on inputs such as geological logging, core scanning or information on mineralogy would be advantageous for constraining sample selection and interpolating the results of more limited physical testing into resource block models.

Project P1A-040 was set up in anticipation of this challenge. It was based on sophisticated application of Finite Element Modelling (FEM) using classified mineralogical information generated using QEMScan/MLA technology or automated optical microscopy which are now widely used in the minerals industry primarily for micron scale liberation and recovery analysis. The aim was to develop fundamental knowledge of how mineralogy and texture interacts during coarse impact breakage mechanisms resulting in and controlling observed variable grade deportment by size.




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