The influence of feed size on autogenous and semi- autogenous grinding and the role of blasting in its manipulation

The introduction and subsequent ascendancy of autogenous and semi-autogenous milling for comminution circuits has undoubtedly lead to many economic advantages. From a process viewpoint, however, at least one downside has been the sensitivity of these machines to process input variations.Foremost among these is ore competence, though feed size comes a close second. This sensitivity is due to the reliance of ag/sag mills on the feed ore for their grinding media competence and size. Autogenous (ag)mills are the most sensitive in this respect with semi-autogenous (sag) mills being increasingly less so as the ball charge is increased. Increasingly designers and operators are recognising the importance of feed size and the benefits of manipulating it to improve performance. This has been achieved by installing additional crushing/screening capacity ahead of the ag/sag, better operation of the primary crusher, better control of segregation cased by stockpiles and bins and by changing blast design/practices to modify the ROM sizedistribution. This paper describes the influence of feed size distribution on ag/sag mill performance with reference to a range of plant data. It particularly concentrates on how changing blasting practice to modify ag/sag feed size can have a considerable overall benefit.

Proceedings of the XXII International Mineral Processing Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, pp 526-533, SAIMM.

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