Shedding light on secondary crushing

SME 2014


Secondary crushing often gets good press for its increases in energy efficiency and SAG milling rates but for a project considering this option the proposed benefits soon get overshadowed by implementation concerns. Reverse engineering from the published case studies is risky unless the reader understands the drivers impacting stability and operability of the circuit.

This paper discusses the features of secondary crushing for Greenfield and Brownfield SAG mill grinding circuits. It is the author’s view that secondary crushing rarely adds value to a Greenfield project and restricts future expansion. Its application is best retro fitted to Brownfield operations where the benefit gained for capital expended is excellent. Two case studies are presented to reaffirm these statements. The first case study shows that the implementation of partial and total secondary crushing increases SAG mill power efficiency and it offers substantial incremental increases in milling throughput with staged capital investments for the crushing and grinding circuits respectively. The paper provides a critical analysis of process conditions for secondary-crushed grinding circuits, with particular emphasis on Brownfield circuit retrofits. Furthermore, the second case study quantifies the economic impact of secondary crushing on circuit design for plant start up and it illustrates the limit imposed on plant expansion.

This paper will be available in the proceedings of the 2014 SME.