The comminution energy curve is a profoundly simple graphical technique that displays detailed operating efficiency information for industrial comminution processes. The database underlying the methodology has recently more than doubled, to now contain a substantial fraction of the international comminution output (1.7 billion tonnes of rock per year) across more than 8 major commodities. This increase has deepened the analytical capabilities and effectiveness for assessing comminution circuit performance in relation to comparable operating mines. This paper will explore how the energy curve methodology can be used to examine the ability of stirred mill technologies to increase efficiency.
Specifically, this paper explores how the energy curves methodology can be used to present energy efficiency gains achieved at three mines employing a stirred mill technology under different duties. The first of these cases studies was conducted by Rosa (2014) who compared the performance of two ball mills operating in parallel with a Vertimill in the regrinding circuit at the Samarco Iron project in South East Brazil. The Vertimill was found to achieve the same product specification while consuming 40% less energy. Brissette (2010) investigated the impact of grinding media on the performance of both ball mills and Vertimills. The energy savings achieved varied from 10% to 40% for the ball mills and 30% to 60% for the Vertimills. Lastly, Bergerman (2012) investigated the operating conditions of the Sossego regrind circuit from 2006 to 2011 against design specifications and laboratory testing. The operating work index of this circuit varied from 5.2 kWh/t to 44 kWh/t over this 5 year period. The full suite of energy curves have been used to visualise the energy efficiency improvements highlighted within these three case studies.