Sustainable Optimisation of the Bell Creek SAG Mill

Lake Shore Gold is engaged in commercial gold production at both the Timmins West and Bell Creek mines, located in Timmins, Ontario. Run of mine ore is processed at the Bell Creek mill which consists of a conventional gold mill flow sheet involving crushing, grinding, gravity concentration and carbon-in-leach (CIL) for gold recovery. Since 2009, the operating capacity of the mill has been upgraded from 2000 tpd tonnes per day (tpd) to over 3,000 tpd. The most recent expansion involved the installation of a low aspect ratio SAG mill to replace the secondary crusher. Without operational data on the low aspect mill, combined with a site team that was new to SAG milling, there were many challenges in achieving the target throughput from the circuit. Through the implementation of AwaRE advanced controllers, running in closed loop with PRC fragmentation cameras as well as embedded PARC modules within the Allen Bradley PLC, the site was able to rapidly develop a best operating practise and has been successful in creating a stable and consistent operational environment. The process, lessons learned and eventual solution will be reviewed in this paper.