Mill filling is an important operational parameter in a SAG mill circuit and by its control and optimisation it can produce significant improvements in production capacity and energy efficiency. However, it is industry practice to report mill load as the total output given by load cells, or kPa for systems based on lubrication bearing back pressure, rather than the actual percent total mill filling. Ball trajectory is another critical parameter as overthrow can result in accelerated liner wear and possibly liner failure whilst underthrow can result in reduced grinding action. The assessment of ball trajectory cannot be done in isolation as the toe of the charge needs to be determined to make any meaningful assessment. Thus both total percent mill filling and mill trajectory are critical parameters; however neither is reported or available to metallurgy or processing teams in real time or a regular basis.
In this study the performance of a fixed speed SAG mill was assessed and optimised by employing mill trajectory models and using the JKMRC power model to calculate percent total mill filling. Power Curves, which correlate ball filling, mill filling and mill power, were also developed. The Power Curves, with additional knowledge from the trajectory models allowed for the identification of optimal operating regions for the mill.
This paper may be downloaded here. MetPlant 2015
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