THE mine of the future will have to contend with lower head grade as the higher grade ores become depleted, according to Pieter De Waal executive director of South African mineral beneficiation company Blue Cube Systems.
“Rising costs will put pressure on mines for grade control and improved recoveries to remain in business,” De Waal told Australian Mining.
“Optimisation of the mineral beneficiation processes will, therefore, become a driving force. This is not only important for future mines, but also for presently operating mines to stretch their existing economically recoverable ore resources.
“The ‘OSCAR’ principle will become an important consideration for mine managers; ‘Optimisation’ can only be achieved if the process can remain stable. ‘Stability’ can be achieved only where process parameters can be controlled. ‘Control’ can only be achieved by timely corrective action. ‘Action’ must be triggered on the basis of relevant information. ‘Relevant’ information must reflect the desired result; being mineral composition at various stages of the beneficiation process.”
The mine of the future, says De Waal, will be better equipped with in-line real time mineral analysers linked to SCADA systems and automated process control.
“Management will put more emphasis on plant stability as a contributing factor towards better grade control and optimised recoveries.”
Pieter De Waal
Blue Cube Systems