The integration of mine-to-mill and grade engineering at Anglo American’s Los Bronces Mine using IES

Keeney, Beaton, Scott, La Rosa, Amini, Rutter, Faramarzi

Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020

ABSTRACT

Anglo American’s Los Bronces copper mine in Chile has been conducting detailed assessments investigating value adding options for their asset. The mine has conducted several detailed Mine-to-Mill and Grade Engineering studies to investigate increased throughput and head grade and to quantifying the impact of these approaches across the life of mine.

CRC ORE has two key technologies namely Grade Engineering and the Integrated Extraction Simulator. These two technology suites have been combined to understand the technological landscape and associated value drivers suitable for application at Los Bronces. Detailed ore characterisation test work was conducted to:

  • measure and spatially model the propensity of ores to naturally deport and
  • develop customised blast models for Mine-to-Mill and Grade Engineering evaluation

The outputs of this work were utilised to develop a block model populated with a range on new Grade Engineering and blasting parameters suitable for scenario analysis. To facilitate scenario analysis a high-fidelity value chain model of the Los Bronces operation from blasting to concentrate production was built in IES. IES was combined with sophisticated analytical tools such as Neural Networks to develop and reconcile a fully integrated value chain. The value chain model made it possible to simulate in IES all available blocks in the block model to predict throughput and grade changes for different strategic scenarios.

The scenario analysis was run across 24 strategic combinations of Mine-to-Mill and Grade Engineering and comprised several million simulations. The scenarios investigated each technology independently and jointly to provide an attributed block model that can feed forward into techno-economic modelling to determine optimal execution strategies for the mine. This paper presents the first published study combining Grade Engineering and IES to provide mass simulation capability to investigate strategic options for a mining asset.

AUTHORS

L Keeney1, N Beaton2, M Scott3, D La Rosa4, E Amini5, J Rutter6 and F Faramarzi7

1. Chief Operating Officer, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. General Manager - IES, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3. Senior Project Evaluation Specialist, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. Principal Mining Engineer, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5. IES Utilisation Manager, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

6. Principal Mine Geologist, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7. Mining & Process Engineer, CRC ORE, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4069. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Special thanks are due to the Anglo American and Los Bronces site staff who conducted the sampling and analysis of the various pre-concentration evaluation regimes. This work was conducted under the auspices of the Australian Government Cooperative Research (CRC) Program. CRC ORE is part of this Program, which is made possible through the investment and ongoing support of the Australian Government.

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