Glencore Technology takes McArthur River experience to Russia

The McArthur River Mine.

Glencore Technology will use its knowledge of IsaMill grinding technology, which it applied to the McArthur River project 25 years ago, to help Ozernoye develop a Russian mining operation.

Teaming up with engineering company Hatch, Glencore Technology is assisting the start of operations at the polymetallic mine in Buryatia, east Siberia.

The McArthur River project, which is near the Gulf of Carpentaria in Northern Territory, contains a complex ore that was uneconomical until the IsaMill technology was developed by Glencore in 1994.

IsaMill was established to produce a steep particle size distribution without needing internal screens or closed-circuit cyclones and the horizontal plug-flow design prevented short circuiting, providing a reliable and easy to use technology.

The original 1994 IsaMills are still operating at McArthur River, but have been refined to occupy a small footprint, high availability and energy efficiency.

Similarly with McArthur River, the main challenge with the Ozernoye deposit is the ore’s complex composition.

Glencore senior processing engineer at Jameson Cells Adam Price said the ore mineralogy of McArthur River and Ozernoye was “remarkably similar”.

“Ozernoye’s mineralogy is complex, and it’s going to need the right flow sheet to improve the recovery and concentrate quality and therefore ensure the economic viability of the project,” Price said.

Glencore and Hatch have already worked with Ozernoye, along with AMC Consultants, to complete geotechnical drilling, test work and analysis.

Capital mine development, drill land blast works have started to give contractors with structural materials and to begin stripping.

This year, Ozernoye has started mining, capital works and building infrastructure facilities, including a tailing dam, water distribution system, pit stripping and a camp expansion.

Major plant facilities construction is planned for 2020 to 2022 and the company plans to reach eight million tonnes per annum design capacity in 2024.

Ozernoye expects mining works, stripping waste and construction of temporary roads and the tailings storage facility to start this month.

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