Advanced Process Control for Grinding Circuits

Recent copper price evolution pushes modern mining industry even harder to achieve highest production with maximum efficiency. Operations are bound by numerous contractual and environmental conditions that bring a high degree of complexity to both the operators controlling the process and the plant managers assessing the circuit’s potential and setting the production goals.

Advanced process control (APC) for grinding is one important tool to operate this most energy intense area in an optimal way, finding the optimal trade-offs between highest throughput, energy efficiency and product quality based on variable ore properties, production targets and management priorities.

ABB’s state of the art control and optimization software platform enables user to design a controller based on model predictive control (MPC). The paper and the presentation show the technology used and the results achieved through an APC controller installed in a pilot project in Aitik (Boliden SA), Sweden. Furthermore, possibilities to interconnect grinding with other areas as stockpile management and flotation with various interconnected APC controllers will be shown. Finally, an example of the return on investment and the payback times based on the increased throughput and better product quality will be presented.