Breaking Down Energy Consumption in Industry Grinding Mills

Breaking Down Energy Consumption in Industry Grinding Mills

J Bouchard (1), G LeBlanc (2), M Levesque (3), P Radziszewski (4) and D Georges-Filteau (1)

49th Annual Canadian Minerals Processors Conference, Ottawa, Canada, 2017 



Grinding mills are infamous for their extremely low energy efficiency. It is generally accepted that the energy required to produce new mineral surfaces is less than 1% of the electricity consumed to operate ball mills. The remaining 99% is assumed to be dissipated as noise, vibration, and heat, but there is no clear picture on how much is lost in the air or serves to heat the slurry. This paper reports the results of an investigation targeting two objectives: (1) characterising energy outputs in industrial grinding mill circuits, and (2) identifying the potential for recovering energy from grinding circuits. Agnico-Eagle Goldex Division, Mine Canadian Malartic, and New Gold New Afton Mine participates in the study by providing operating data for 3 semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mills and 4 ball mills. Results show on average that 79% of the supplied electrical energy converts to heat absorbed by the slurry, 8% is lost through the drive system, and about 2% of the energy is transmitted to ambient air. The analysis reveals that 91% of the input energy, currently wasted as heat, could potentially be recovered using suitable technologies or integrated energy management systems, but this topic remains to be further investigated.


(1) Université Laval, Département de génie des mines, de la métallurgie et des matériaux, LOOP (Laboratoire d'observation et d'optimisation des procédés), Centre E4m, Pavillon Adrien-Pouliot, 1065 avenue de la médecine, Quebec, Quebec, Canada, GIV 0A6

(2) CanmetMINES / CanmetMINING, Ressources naturelles Canada / Natural Resources Canada, 1 Promenade Haanel, Batiment 10, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 1M1

(3) 1079 Kelly Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 5P5

(4) Metso Minerals Canada, 795 Avenue George V, Lachine, Quebec, Canada, H8S 2R9



Bouchard J, LeBlanc G, Levesque M, Radziszewski P and Georges-Filteau D. Breaking Down Energy Consumption in Industry Grinding Mills, in Muinonen J, Cameron R and Zinck J (Editors) 49th Annual Canadian Minerals Processors Conference Proceedings, pp 25-35, Ottawa, Canada, 2017, Office of the Secretary of the Canadian Mineral Processors, a Technical Society of The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).


CEEC thanks the CIM and Canadian Minerals Processors Society (CMP). Proceedings can be purchased from CMP's website for $10 here.

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