Asset development strategy
The aim of pre-concentration is to separate dilution (gangue, matrix, non-targeted ore etc.) as early as possible in mining – and minerals processing.
Pre-concentration is becoming an increasingly important factor as several current trends in the mining industry are encountered:
– Declining multi-factor productivity due to decreasing ore grades in run-of-mine
– Increasing complexity of mined deposits
– Increasing consumption and variance of raw materials per capita and overall.
– Increasing pressure to reduce specific resource consumption, with energy and water leading the way – but land use is also becoming more important in an increasingly densely populated world.
The application of traditional methods in new contexts and novel sensor-based sorting technologies are powerful new approaches that have a significant impact on overall operations – both in upstream mining and in downstream beneficiation and processing. These impacts are so significant, that can be described as disruptive. This is synonymous with high economic opportunities, but also high risks, which explains the rather modest market reactions so far.
Greenfield Development Projects
Early assessment of the benefits of pre-concentration in the design and planning of plant processes includes a geometallurgical characterisation of the deposit and the development of suitable processing concepts. In addition, the reserve models and mining plan can be adjusted. Capital requirements for the development of the mining project can be significantly reduced and overall production increased. This can be accompanied by lower energy and water consumption and a reduction in the masses that have to be dumped as fine tailings in ponds.
Mill Expansion Projects
Pre-concentration technologies and strategies are ideal options for increasing the productivity of existing production plants, dependent on the nature of the ore and its heterogeneity. Contrary to popular belief, ores in the crushed state are usually still very heterogeneous, which offers the possibility of separating gangue minerals and thus bringing an ore with higher grade into the plant to increase productivity.
These options are usually manageable in terms of capital investment and can be implemented in the relatively short term. Moreover, they can be used not only in the short term to increase mill capacity, but also in the longer term to lower the cut-off grade and thus increase plant reserves and extend operating life.