Tracking Hardness and Size: Measuring and Monitoring ROM Ore Properties at Highland Valley Copper

Mine to Mill Conference, Brisbane, Qld, October 1998


Highland Valley Copper recently implemented a system of measuring run-of-mine (ROM) ore properties and monitoring their effect on both mine and mill performance. These properties are principally ore hardness and size.

For some years, Highland Valley Copper has been estimating ore hardness using knowledge of the geological conditions combined with previous mill experience. These estimates assist with ore blending and forecasting. The new system outlined in this paper, is the next step in this program. Using the latest technology available in mining equipment, ore properties are tracked through the input crushing, conveying and stockpile network to the mill feed using the mine dispatch system and some simple models.

The result is a continuous update on the ore hardness going to all five grinding lines along with predictions for the future. This will give both operators and process control systems alike the opportunity to shift targets and/or change operating conditions to suit the ore properties.

Ore size distributions – from the muckpile to the mill - are measured using video cameras and the WipFrag image analysis software. These measurements can provide feedback on the control of blast fragmentation as well as optimise mill throughput. For example, the effects of segregation can be minimised through the manipulation of stockpile feeders.

Highland Valley Copper is in an almost unique situation of knowing the amenability of the ore they are treating through systems put in place to measure and monitor the ore properties in real-time. This information can then be used by the mine and mill engineers to improve the productivity and efficiency of their operations.

This paper may be found in full from here.