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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717

Abstract

CLERMONT, B.  and  DE HAAS, B.. Optimization of mill performance by using online ball and pulp measurements. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2010, vol.110, n.3, pp. 133-140. ISSN 2411-9717.

Ball mills are usually the largest consumers of energy within a mineral concentrator. Comminution is responsible for 50% of the total mineral processing cost. In today's global markets, expanding mining groups are trying to optimize mill performances. Since comminution is concerned with liberating valuable minerals for recovery in the separation process, it is crucial to run the mills at the best operating conditions which lead to good liberation at competitive throughputs with minimum costs (energy and wear). The high availability of the equipment is also essential to maximize production and profit. To reach this key objective, continuous and reliable information about the mill operation is vital. An innovative tool which can deliver information about in-mill dynamics has been developed by Magotteaux. It can provide online and accurate measurements of the degree of grinding ball fill and pulp position for timely decision making and actions. This tool could be used on its own or linked to an automatic grinding ball loading system named Magoload . Therefore, ball load could be kept constant by using direct measurement. This article describes the Sensomag and presents some of the major improvements that can be achieved with it. Some other promising avenues are still to be explored.

Keywords : Comminution; process control; process optimization; process instrumentation; online analysis.

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