AngloGold Ashanti Ltd nominated Sunrise Dam Gold Mine as a case study via their involvement with the long-running Australian Mineral Industry Research Association (AMIRA) International P9P research program (AMIRA, 2015) . A group of researchers from the Global Comminution Collaborative (GCC) conducted a comminution circuit survey and review together with a large group of graduate metallurgists, senior metallurgists and operators. Fundamental and applied research understanding was used to identify productivity and efficiency improvements around the crushing and grinding circuits. The limitations of current scientific knowledge were identified through this process and this will allow future research to be more focussed on what is required by industry.
The comminution circuit at Sunrise Dam comprises three stages of crushing followed by two stages of ball milling. The secondary crusher and primary ball mill classification were identified as the primary limitations of the circuit. The secondary crusher was found to be underperforming through overall equipment efficiency (OEE) analysis and an improved chamber design was identified by Chalmers University. This improved design will promote higher power utilisation, choke feeding and a finer crushed product for the milling circuit. The primary ball mill product is classified by a combination of a trommel, 3 sieve bends and a hydrocyclone. The combination of poor classification and coarse, competent feed led to a situation where the primary mill was overfilled with rocks, reducing grinding rate due to cushioning of impact. Size specific energy (SSE) benchmarking methodology was used to identify that a 10% increase in throughput could be achieved with improved primary classification.
Ballantyne, G R, Clarke, N, Elms, P, Anyimadu, A and Powell, M S, 2015. Application of research principles to identify process improvement at Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, in Proceedings MetPlant 2015, pp 221–229 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).