Pyle, Ballantyne, Chandramohan, Vizcarra, Lane
Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020
Preconcentration, through gravity separation (Wallace et al, 2015), magnetic separation and particle size (Clout, 2013), has been used in many historical projects to convert low grade material into ore. More recently, pre-concentration technologies such as bulk sorting (Kurth, 2017), screening (Bearman, 2014) and coarse particle flotation (Vollert et al, 2019) have also demonstrated their ability to progressively reject waste through the value chain.
These technologies can not only deliver step-change improvements to the economics of mining operations, but can transform the environmental and social aspects by minimising water and energy consumption and significantly reduce the quantity of fine tailings produced. However, implementing progressive waste rejection requires technologies and approaches to be combined and applied in the right way to capture the value.
From a technical perspective, progressive waste rejection introduces challenges related to the orebody, equipment performance, engineering and understanding the value chain from the resource through to final product. From a management perspective, the key issues are related to people and processes, in particular; motivating the business, challenging the paradigms, and introducing new ways of operating within the constraint of existing management structures to manage risks and minimise lost opportunity costs.
This combination of technical and management issues means that progressive waste rejection is a complex undertaking for mining companies, yet the reward for the business and other stakeholders is potentially high and should not be ignored. This paper presents how progressive waste rejection can offer step-change improvements to the business case for high and low grade greenfield and brownfield projects based on case studies completed by Ausenco. The paper then outlines different implementation approaches from concept studies to execution to address the various technical and management challenges outlined above.
M Pyle1, G Ballantyne2, R Chandramohan3, T Vizcarra4 and G Lane5
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