Doing More with What We Already Know – Improving the Efficiency of Minerals Processing

The demand for minerals and metals is increasing. Head grades of ore bodies are dropping. Remaining ores are becoming finer grained, more complex, and more logistically challenging. Mineral processing – in particular comminution – already consumes a huge amount of energy. But in 20 years’ time, it will require about six times as much energy as today to meet the world’s mineral demand.

Unless we do something different.

As minerals professionals, it is our job to find that “something different”. The world is relying on us. Of course, we must look for new breakthrough technologies and techniques. We must find them, and we will find them – most likely in surprising areas.

But what if we also already know how to make 30-50% improvements to efficiency? Just by using existing technologies, by applying modern analytical techniques, by custom designing our plants, by applying manufacturing principles, by breaking down our management silos between disciplines.

The thing is, industry professionals already know this. Yet – in spite of a lot of intelligent people trying very hard – we just can’t seem to make it happen.

This discussion considers why, despite our best efforts, we don’t get the best out of what we already have.

Why we are wasting energy and money. Once we understand why, we can set about unlocking that value and improving industry productivity and energy efficiency. We will discuss the role that professionals and volunteer professional organisations like CMP and CEEC can play in catalysing the changes.