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IMPLEMENTATION OF A 4.0 TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP AS A STRATEGY TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE POLYMETALLIC MILLING PROCESS AT THE

Por: Leonardo Almeyda y Leonardo Bravo, Nexa Resources.


Abstract

The development of R&D projects is fundamental to maximize the efficiency of mineral beneficiation. Therefore, Nexa Resources seeks to capture new variables, control and optimize mining-metallurgical processes through the implementation of analytical models, and thus generate virtual scenarios capable of anticipating future operational conditions.

This article addresses the most critical points raised during the execution of R&D projects in the mining and metallurgical sector and begins by detailing the key steps to design an R&D portfolio that optimizes one or more operational KPIs and is able to guarantee (i) technical and financial viability, (ii) value generation in the short term and (iii) adequate risk management.

In 2020, it was identified that the milling process of the Cerro Lindo mining unit presented high operational instability, which was caused by the changing nature of the ore processed and the lack of control of variables.

It was estimated that the recovery of certain valuable mineral species would increase by up to 5% with more efficient milling.

Based on this need, Nexa Resources designed a 4.0 Technology Roadmap, consisting of seven solutions. They propose an approach to optimize the four main operational KPIs related to the milling process: (i) increase in tonnage processed, (ii) optimization of specific energy, (iii) optimization of steel consumption and (vi) stability of the P80 size of the product.

This Roadmap was designed using the Advanced Technology Roadmap Architecture (ATRA) methodology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This consists of the application of 12 steps, seven of which were prioritized for the specific case of the Cerro Lindo mining unit.

Finally, the article details the current status of the implementation of the Roadmap, which is 70% complete, as well as the lessons learned during the development of this Roadmap and the next steps to be taken after its implementation.

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