Meadowbank Mine process plant throughput increase


The Meadowbank mine is operated by Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. and is located in the Kivalliq District of Nunavut in northern Canada. The process plant operates presently at a throughput of 11,500 tpd with gold grade varying between 2.9 and 3.6 g/t. The ore supplied to the process plant come from two different open pits and it expected to come from a new open pit early 2014. The ore is mid-hard materials so the feed size ore have a bigger impact on the throughput. The average gold recovery is 94.0% with about 15-30% of gold recover from the gravity circuit. The Meadowbank mine commissioning started in February 2010 utilizing a flowsheet consisting of one stage of crushing followed by primary and secondary grinding. The commercial production began in March 2010. During the commissioning several difficulties were observed to reach the designed throughput of 8,500 tpd. It was evaluated to insert a second stage of crushing. The insertion of the secondary crushing have two objectives, first to reach easily the process plant design  throughput as well as to evaluated the mill capacity increasing. The process plant team evaluated various expansion alternatives eventually deciding to install a secondary crusher, increased the SAG and Ball mills motors capacities and maintain the rest of the process unchanged. Early 2011, with the improvement in the gold markets, decision was made to install the secondary crusher between the primary crusher and the primary grinding. The process plant continued to operate on the initial design until early June 2011. This paper presents the SAG mill throughput increasing from the designed tonnage of 8,500 tpd to 2012 targeted tonnage of 11,500 tpd, secondary crusher commissioning and the difficulties to operate in Canada Artic (Nunavut).

This paper is reproduced here with the generous permission of the Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP).