Process Mineralogy Today

A discussion resource for process mineralogy using todays technologies


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Reducing the cost of grinding

2_Oyu Tolgoi_SAG Mill_#1The grinding circuit in any operation is a major contributor to overall operating costs and should be a major focus of ongoing process optimisation and improvement programs.  The grinding circuit can account for up to 40% of energy costs within a process circuit.  Understanding the behaviour of material through the grinding circuit is a significant step on the right path for reducing costs, minimising energy use for sustainable practice and ultimately improving recoveries in down stream circuits.  To help with this MinAssist has developed the first in a suite of off-the-shelf services to make undertaking a Grind Optimisation Program accessible and easy.


The grinding circuit is the first opportunity within a process flowsheet to prepare the feed material for downstream recovery circuits.  In concentrators, either gravity or flotation, the recovery and concentrate grade is directly related to the degree of liberation of the value mineral within the grinding circuit.  Failure to adequately grind the feed material prior to recovery can lead to dilution of the final concentrate with gangue minerals attached to value minerals, or in losses to tailings when target minerals remain encapsulated in gangue.  Conversely, overgrinding results in unnecessary energy consumption, with the associated cost, and can adversely affect recovery by generating a product that is too fine for effective concentration.


At MinAssist we often see sites where the project metallurgist is expected to manage improvement programs for all stages of the circuit, along with keeping the process running and becomes overwhelmed.  We wanted to provide a simple and efficient program that required minimal input from the site but that could provide real benefits.  This grind optimisation program is therefore the first in a suite of pre-defined studies that the busy project metallurgist can grab ‘off-the-shelf’ from MinAssist, and run with a minimum of hassle. This suite of programs is focused on bringing cost savings, recovery improvements and general risk reduction through improved understanding of ore types.


If you feel that there is potential for improvement in your grinding circuit, or just haven’t thought much about it, then we encourage you to have a look at the MinAssist Grind Optimisation Program and get in touch with us.  The program has been specifically designed to be simple and cost effective, requiring only a representative sample of mill feed to be effective.


If you would like more information on this program or other process mineralogical services that MinAssist can provide then feel free to contact us anytime for a discussion.

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About the Author: Dr Will Goodall

Will is globally recognized as a leading expert in the use of scanning electron microscopy for mineralogical analysis and is founder of MinAssist Pty Ltd, a company providing consulting in the quantitative process mineralogy space.

Visit Dr Will Goodall's website.

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