Cape Town hosts successful Comminution ’18

Minerals Engineering International’s (MEI’s) Comminution ’18 conference has wrapped up for another two years, and Barry Wills shared some of the highlights of this year’s contributions on his recent blog

Barry said that with higher needs for fine grinding combined with advanced flotation, reducing energy and water in comminution and other mineral processing was becoming even more critical. Comminution ’18 conference is key to how industry can tackle this challenge.

He said new ideas shared at Comminution ’18 included new crusher developments, HPGRs, fine grinding devices and circuits – “all offering new approaches and much hope for the future.”

“Liberation, achieved through comminution, is one of the most relevant aspects in ore processing. The global efficiency of a plant often depends on the performance of the grinding circuit, so there is a compromise between particle size, energy consumption and liberation. An adequate prediction of the liberation of grinding products can be helpful in reducing overgrinding, and therefore, reducing energy consumption without disturbing downstream operations,” he said.

Modelling and simulation to achieve the best outcomes are an important part of the solution, with many speakers sharing new work and new approaches.

Presenters included many CEEC sponsors, such as Bianco Foggiatto and Rajiv Chandramohan of Ausenco Ltd, Hamid Manouchehri of Sandvik, Haijie Li of FLSmidth, Chris Steyn of Anglo American, Greg Anderson from Glencore Technology, representatives from Metso and more.

CEEC was pleased to again be an industry advocate for this conference. Nick Wilshaw, CEEC Advocate and Mike Battersby, CEEC Director attended the conference and talked to many about CEEC’s not-for-profit work.  Nick’s Grinding Solutions team contributed throughout and Mike Battersby shared information on the Ro-Star mill for ultra-fine grinding, highlighting the critical collaboration path towards commercialisation in Europe. 

Emmanuel Asakpo, of Newmont, shared how improvements were made at the Ahafo operation in Ghana, supplementing last year’s CEEC Medal winning paper by Aidan Giblett and Steven Hart of Newmont. Mark De Geus shared a new ‘virtual sensor’ approach for SAG mill performance using operational data, helping reduce scheduled liner wear stoppages and optimise ball charge levels. Markus Stapelmann and Hakan Benzer of Loesche GmnH described the first application of a vertical roller mill in a sulphide copper-gold ore project.

Leading researchers presented from around the world, including the participants from the Global Comminution Collaborative. Hakan Benzer of Hacettepe University, Turkey, talked about how novel energy efficient comminution circuit flowsheets can incorporate energy efficient dry comminution technologies such as HPGR and Vertimill for significant energy savings. Holger Lieberwirth, of TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany, asked a question in his keynote lecture "will SAG mills still be relevant in 50 years’ time?"

In introducing Hamid Manouchehri from CEEC sponsor Sandvik, Barry said mining was energy intensive, and grinding was responsible for consuming about 40% of the energy in the whole mining chain.

“Inefficiency in grinding has long been an outstanding problem, in particular when production of fines and ultra-fines are considered. Unlike milling, crushers are much more energy efficient, therefore it is logical to push the comminution process towards the crushing stage for energy efficiency. Furthermore, crushing is done dry which reduces water consumption and related potential water contamination,” he said.

Hamid’s presentation shared new crushing chamber technology to tackle these challenges.

There are many more inspiring and informative contributions – with too many to name here. CEEC thanks the excellent contributions from many leaders in research and operations. We look forward to reviewing and sharing some abstracts with the CEEC network, and invite authors to share their final papers with us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comminution 18 Montage numbers

CAPTIONS: 1. MEI Senior Partner Barry Wills at the opening of Comminution ’18. 2. Dee Bradshaw with JP Franzidis. 3. CEEC sponsor Glencore Technology’s Greg Anderson and Hans de Waal. 4. CEEC Advocate Nick Wilshaw (centre) with Felicity Wilshaw and John Starkey. 5. Grant Ballantyne (7th from left), recipient of the 2017 MEI Young Person’s Award, and colleagues, with colleagues Greg Anderson, Glencore Technology (CEEC sponsor); Etienne Wolmarans, FLSmidth (CEEC sponsor); Barry Wills, MEI (Comminution ‘18 organiser and CEEC in-kind supporter); Chris Rule, independent (CEEC advocate); Mike Battersby, Maelgwyn (CEEC director); Hans de Waal, Glencore Technology (CEEC sponsor); Nick Wilshaw, Grinding Solutions (CEEC advocate); Charles Ntsele, Metso (CEEC sponsor); Kiangi Kiangi, Metso (CEEC sponsor); (Anglo American); Tim Lane, Sandvik (CEEC sponsor); Evert Lessing, Weir (CEEC sponsor); Aidan Giblett, Newmont (CEEC Medal winner); and Bianca Foggiatto, Ausenco (CEEC sponsor). Other CEEC sponsors present at conference but absent from picture: CITIC-HIC, Donhad, Barrick and TOMS Institute.