Mine Excellence 2018 – 3rd International Seminar of Operational Excellence in Mining, 21-23 March 2018, Santiago, Chile


The Australian mining industry currently consumes 28% more water, 21% more energy and generates 19% greater emissions to maintain the same level of production achieved in 2000-01. These trends in declining energy, water and emission productivity have been attributed to increased development of lower quality resources as higher grade, easily accessed ore deposits are depleted.
Industry focus for managing rising water, energy and emission intensity of production is often limited to incremental improvements in energy and water consumption at operations, with little attention given to preconcentration strategies that improve the quality of ore processed.
Grade Engineering® employs coarse-separation techniques to improve the quality of ore delivered to mineral processing facilities and increase the value of an operation. Grade Engineering studies have shown that early intervention to preconcentrate ore streams and separate uneconomic material prior to energy, emission and water intensive stages of mineral processing, have a pronounced improvement on energy and water productivity, emission intensity and the profitability of metalliferous mining operations.
This paper describes the evaluation of water, energy and emission intensity of production, comparing the implementation of energy and water efficient technologies and Grade Engineering strategies at a Au-Cu deposit in Australia.
The results show that a focus on energy and water efficient technologies can produce sizeable reductions in the energy (-19%), water (-31%) and emission (-16%) intensity of production but comparatively low economic returns at the case study site. These results confirm that the cost of energy and water consumption at the operation was relatively low, despite energy costs contributing one-third of the total operational expenses of the operation.
Grade Engineering strategies were shown to provide significant reductions in the water (-21%), energy (-9%) and emission (-15%) intensity of production and a substantially improvement to the net present value of the operation (+13%). The implementation of Grade Engineering strategies in combination with water and energy efficient equipment and practices can further reduce the water (-45%) energy (-27%) and emission (-29%) intensity of production.

Scott, M - Project Evaluation, Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction, Australia

CEEC acknowledges and thanks Gecamin for organising the Mine Excellence 2018 Conference.
Abstracts can be found at the Mine Excellence 2018 website

Full papers published in the Conference Proceedings can be purchased from