Process Mineralogy Today

A discussion resource for process mineralogy using todays technologies


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Category: Value

Returning Mineral Processing to Profitability: The Cost Conscious Approach (Part 1)

As revenues from mining and mineral processing operations become largely volatile and under increased commodity price pressure, businesses and operators are re-thinking cost regimes to remain marginally profitable.  Operations can no longer afford inept “business as usual” philosophies to maintain the status quo. Hence, smarter ways of allocating and utilising both Capital and Operating resources are [more than before] required to sustain design “turnover ratios”. It is an imperative that Process Designs and Flow Sheet Developments embrace holistic “Life of Mine” Optimisation philosophies in order to deploy available resources in ways that maximize overall Net Values and deliver maximum Returns to all Stakeholders. The days of only maximising the reach of Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) at the expense of Operating Expenses (OPEX) should be long gone.


Figure 1: Typical Mineral Processing Cost Summary

Figure 1: Typical Mineral Processing Cost Summary


Understanding what is feeding your process: How ore variability costs money!

Feed conveyorFollowing our article looking at areas in which minerals processing operations typically lose money we have selected the most important topics and will be running a series of articles exploring ways to avoid value loss in more detail.  We believe that as times become tougher through the minerals industry consideration of where additional value can be achieved and how costs can be reduced is of paramount importance.


Over the years, MinAssist has been involved in many optimisation programs and when asked to examine areas for optimisation in a processing plant invariably we will begin by looking at the feed material, specifically it’s variability and the impact that is having on stable operation of the process circuit.  Often this area is the major cause of lost value in an operation and the impacts of its effects continue right through the process flowsheet.


Where we lose money in mineral processing operations


Every mineral processing operation has some areas that are inefficient and cost them money every day.  Understanding where these areas might be and how value losses occur is a fundamental aspect of continual process improvement that needs to be constantly monitored.  MinAssist has begun a program of offering targeted health checks for operations to rapidly monitor key areas where cost savings or recovery improvements might be achieved.  These are off-the-shelf programs designed to make implementation of process mineralogy as a tool easy and accessible to busy operations personnel.



In developing theses health checks we have been looking at the areas in which operations lose money and thought that this information would be very useful to everyone looking at process improvement.  In this post we will explore some key areas where cost savings or recovery improvements can commonly be made.  Over the next few weeks we will delve deeper into each of these areas to provide you with an insight into how process mineralogy can help in making measurable improvements in any operation.