Drastic Specific Energy and Water Reductions in Mine to Mill Operations


One of the most vigorous of the continuous improvement methodologies is Six Sigma. While usually associated with improving manufacturing and product quality, leading manufacturers are using it to improve their extended supply chain and logistics capabilities. At the same time they are improving reliability, some companies have cut hundreds of millions of dollars of fat out of their supply chain.

Mine to Mill optimization is a transformation of culture from processing tons to processing a quality feed size distribution which reduces the overall operational costs and add the highest value to the mine. This is not a constant endeavor. As such, a dynamic performance monitoring and diagnosis is necessary. We will review a systemic way to performance improvements and avoiding

metal losses from the blast to the metals.

We show the requirements of using raw data to analysis the data to define operational maps which provide assistance to run the mine and mill. A case study is provided with the mine and mill data was integrated combining process control and quality information resulting in reduction of water and energy consumption while improving the overall value of the mine. The results of re-engineering the current system with this SIX SIGMA Strategy had the following results: an increase of ore milling: 4.6% decrease of mill power: 3.9%, decrease of fresh water consumption: 6.8%, with a total of net profits: US$ 31.8 million, the PI System infrastructure contribution: US$7.95 million. These estimates were for the period 2009/04/04 to 2009/12/31.