2018 CEEC Medal win to Nippon Eirich and Karara Mine circuit improvement collaboration

An outstanding collaboration between Karara Mining Limited and Nippon Eirich to implement grinding circuit process improvements at Karara Mine has been awarded the 2018 CEEC Medal.

The winning team – Sam Palaniandy, Matthew Spagnolo, Rinto Napitupulu Halomoan, Huiwen Zhou and Hidemasa Ishikawa – shared its work ‘Fine grinding circuit process improvement at the Karara Mine concentrator’ at the 2017 MetPlant Conference in Australia.

CEEC Medal Evaluation Committee Chair Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic said the CEEC Medal celebrated and recognised outstanding published research and field work on strategies for energy-efficient comminution. She said the winners documented a collaboration between Karara Mining Limited and METS company Nippon Eirich, sharing a well-planned and well-written operational improvement.

Site staff at Karara Mine, located in the mid-west region of Western Australia, faced the challenge of needing to exceed plant throughput in addition to tackling increases in ore hardness.

Zeljka said the authors documented how they converted the TowerMills to bottom feed for improved grinding efficiency, allowing increased throughput at high ore hardness.

“With a systematic approach to identifying and implementing circuit changes around the TowerMill and hydrocyclone installation, the team solved the site’s challenge and achieved significant energy and productivity gains, up to 50 percent reduction in specific energy of the fine grinding circuit,” she said.

“The team demonstrated the value of operational optimisation and showed a methodical approach to improving energy and process efficiency. They showed how operational improvements in part of the circuit can reduce overall comminution energy use. They also demonstrated that big improvements can be successfully incorporated into existing mines with live production needs.”

Zeljka said although no CEEC Medal was awarded in the technical research category, the standard of entries overall was high, with exciting research advances nominated from around the globe. A broad range of topics included advanced simulation and modelling techniques, novel approaches to microwave pre-treatment of plant feed, and use of different types and shapes of grinding media.

The CEEC Board congratulates the medal winners for publishing an excellent and practical contribution to the industry. CEEC Chief Executive Alison Keogh said by supporting the authors to share their learnings, Karara Mining was demonstrating leadership to the global mining industry.

“Karara Mining’s willingness to share how it solved site problems through this collaboration with Nippon Eirich shows its joint commitment to our industry’s improvement, innovation and partnerships. CEEC commends this leadership, which highlights how collaboration and systematic approaches can provide real solutions to help address pressing industry challenges,” she said.

Review the abstract of this paper here

CEEC proudly acknowledges the following exceptional publications, which each received a high commendation.

  • ‘Introducing variable electricity cost into the comminution energy curves’, by Grant R Ballantyne. This paper was presented at Comminution ’18 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The committee said the paper was “an important new contribution to industry, with new global energy costs map and energy curves tools for industry to consider energy efficiency benefits”.

“Bringing a new global energy costs map and parallel energy curves tool enhancement, Ballantyne opens up the potential for miners and METS to compare and consider potential benefits of investing in different mineral assets and energy efficiency improvements, based on energy pricing scenarios.”

Review abstract here

  • ‘Ball mill classification system optimization through functional performance modelling’, by Robert McIvor, Kyle Bartholomew, Omar Arafat and Jim Finch. This paper was published in SME’s Mining Engineering magazine.

The committee noted this important US contribution to comminution efficiency, which detailed a step-by-step approach to optimise ball mill circuits, and illustrated the benefits of different equipment selections.

“McIvor is a highly regarded contributor to comminution efficiency approach. This publication makes an important contribution to ball mill classification and ball mill circuit optimisation. The Metcom simulation package is a tool that supports the mining industry to consider how to improve pump and cyclone performance,” the committee said.

Review abstract here

  • ‘Cave fragmentation in a cave-to-mill context at the New Afton mine Part II: Implications to mill performance, mining technology’, by Stefan Nadolski, Christopher O‘Hara, Bern Klein, Davide Elmo and Craig J. R. Hart.

"Underground mining approaches can reduce footprint, not only with less surface expression but also by focusing on drawing out only the material needed. The novel approach outlined in this paper helps industry identify and implement energy, cost and value benefits using a new cave-to-mill optimisation approach. In the future, we anticipate industry will take up more underground methods, including block cave," the committee said.

Review abstract here

  • ‘Shifting the comminution workload from secondary to regrind stage: An energy efficient approach’, by Samayamutthirian Palaniandy, Hidemasa Ishikawa and Mohsen Yahyaei. Presented and published at Procemin Geomet 2017, Santiago, Chile.

“This collaborative work demonstrates benefits of coarsening SAG mill circuit product size then bulk gangue rejection using flotation, an alternative approach to process low-grade, competent and finely disseminated ore bodies with significant savings in operational expenditure,” the committee said.

The committee noted that the Nippon Eirich and Sustainable Minerals Institute-Julius Kruttshnitt Mineral Research Centre collaborative work demonstrated that there are benefits in gangue rejection earlier in the circuit, after initial stages of grinding.

“The paper shows that by inserting a new coarse stage, opex costs and efficiency benefits are possible. The new circuit couples liberated gangue mineral rejection with energy efficient stirred mill technology,” Zeljka said.

Review abstract here

Alison congratulated the award winners and the highly commended authors for their outstanding contributions to the industry.

“We thank each of the nominees for their part in helping global mining companies find the best solutions for improving energy efficiency, reducing costs and enhancing productivity. By sharing these advances across our global network, CEEC is proud to be helping operators, researchers and equipment suppliers to stay at the cutting edge of comminution and minerals processing, and reduce footprint,” she said.

The CEEC Medal was launched in 2012 as part of CEEC’s mission to raise awareness of comminution research findings, alternative comminution strategies and installed outcomes. Nominations for the 2019 CEEC Medal open on 15 October 2018. For details on how to nominate, visit www.ceecthefuture.org/ceec-medal