Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020
Grade Engineering® involves the planning, integration and operation of coarse preconcentration techniques to reject uneconomic material as early as possible in the mining value chain to improve the quality of ore delivered to mineral processing activities. These preconcentration techniques include screening for natural and induced deportment of grade to finer size fractions during blasting and coarse breakage, sensor-based measurements of grade and mechanised sorting at particle or bulk scales and coarse gravity separation.
Over the last decade, the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), with the support of its participants, has developed a framework for the holistic evaluation of economic and production impacts attributable to these preconcentration techniques. The framework combines the characterisation of preconcentration responses, geostatistical modelling, process modelling and simulation of downstream and upstream production impacts and the optimisation of strategic mine plans to quantify changes in net present value due to different preconcentration strategies.
This framework has been applied to evaluate preconcentration techniques at numerous metalliferous operations and can also be used to quantify changes in the environmental metrics for energy, water and steel consumption and emission, tailings and waste rock production. This paper collates the results of these Grade Engineering® studies to show the range and magnitude of economic and environmental impacts attributable to preconcentration. The studies have shown that rejection of uneconomic material prior to mineral processing activities can have a pronounced improvement in energy, water and comminution steel productivity, emission intensity and the profitability of metalliferous mining.
M Scott1 and E Amini2
The authors wish to acknowledge the work of CRC ORE staff and the support of CRC ORE’s mining partners in the development and delivery of the methodology and results presented in this paper.
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