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IMPACT OF THE MINE-TO-PLANT METHODOLOGY ON OVERALL PROFITABILITY IN THE MINING INDUSTRY

Por: Ronald Ticona Humpiri, Lead Process Plant Specialist, Perú y Jair Alarcón Zamorano, Lead Specialist, Orica Latinoamérica, Orica.


Abstract

Generally, the drilling and blasting operation is managed independently of the results of the processing plant. Therefore, the technical segmentation for determining ore drilling and blasting designs does not include processing plant rock properties such as Bond Work Index, Axb, Drop Weight Index or others. 

In 2021, a Peruvian copper mine operation, according to its mine plan, would have significantly higher SAG milling hardness, which would directly impact the production of copper concentrates. It became necessary to search for an integrated mine-to-plant strategy to maintain production levels.

Historically, the ore had an Axb between 36 to 50, however from Q2-2021 to Q4-2021 it reached values from 25 to 38. Based on the experience of the grinding plant with this type of ore, the throughput of the processing plant would be significantly reduced. 

To address the performance challenge, a practical mine-to-plant strategy was implemented, which included the Axb parameter in the ore drill and blast design segmentations and the application of high-energy explosives to improve fragmentation and processing plant performance.

This paper presents the evaluation of this period, highlighting drill and blast fragmentation improvements and their influence on the processing plant. Daily production increased on average from 93,082 tpd to 95,641 tpd, equivalent to 330 kt of additional ore with a net profit of US$5.8MM in the nine months evaluated.

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