Tag Archives: Zeljka Pokrajcic

CEEC Medal recipients recognised for pushing lower footprint mineral processing

Two standout research and field work contributions that have the potential to improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance across industry have been awarded the highly respected CEEC Medal for 2020.

Attracting a record 23 high-quality nominations from across the globe, the shortlisted Operations and Technical Research papers showcased exciting site improvements and innovative ideas for future technologies, according to the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC).

Now in its ninth year, the CEEC Medal recognises the best published papers that raise awareness of comminution research findings, alternative comminution strategies and installed outcomes.

CEEC Director and Medal Evaluation Committee Chair, Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic, said this year’s nominations reflected industry trends to install renewables, consider embodied energy and emissions, and the continued embracing of technologies such as pre-concentration and coarse flotation.

“It’s rewarding to see how industry leaders and experts are collaborating to forge improvements that make good business sense and proactively improve efficiency,” Dr Pokrajcic said.

The 2020 recipients are:

Operations

Peter Lind and Kevin Murray of Newmont and Alan Boylston and Isaias Arce of Metso Outotec, (formerly Metso), for their paper titled, ‘Reducing Energy and Water Consumption through Alternative Comminution Circuits’. This was presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2019.

Technical Research

Dr Grant Ballantyne (pictured), for his paper titled, ‘Quantifying the Additional Energy Consumed by Ancillary Equipment and Embodied in Grinding Media in Comminution Circuits’. This was also presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver.

Dr Pokrajcic said the winning Operations paper from Newmont/Metso Outotec documents a successful miner/vendor collaboration on how to assess the comminution circuit options in a low energy and water environment.

The paper considers a typical case of a low grade, bulk tonnage copper-gold orebody in an arid climate (Chile, South America) with significant energy costs. It brings together important solutions – including energy-efficient comminution, ancillary equipment, preconcentration and flotation – and presents compelling economic comparisons.

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, said of the paper: “This global knowledge sharing offers real value for decision-making across the globe. The paper’s practical, systematic technology approach, which incorporates all-important financial analysis, has the potential to accelerate industry’s progress to deliver lower footprint minerals.”

The paper’s co-authors, Lind and Boylston, explained that the work was the result of collaboration between many innovative thinkers, with ideas and approaches built over many years.

“We wanted to make a difference, to bring technologies together to show that you can save energy, save water and save money as well. This was a group effort, not only by our extended teams at Newmont and Metso Outotec, but also involving Steinert and Scantech in working through how to apply technologies,” they said.

The CEEC Medal Evaluation Committee praised the winning Technical Research paper from Dr Ballantyne as being “an impressive approach to capturing and quantifying energy consumption of ancillary equipment and energy used to manufacture and transport grinding media”.

The paper shares insights on embodied energy using data collected from sites and presents results on the CEEC Energy Curves.

“The research presents a broader approach that considers the impacts of not just energy used in particle breakage but also embodied energy in the manufacture and transport of grinding media, and energy used in the operation of ancillary equipment such as conveyors and pumps,” Dr Pokrajcic said.

“Bringing this spotlight to embodied energy has strategic value. Many companies are including investigation of supply chain in their procurement decisions.”

Dr Ballantyne, previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC), and now with Ausenco, noted that his work started in 2012, building on earlier concepts shared by industry at a CEEC workshop in Australia. These concepts were developed further following industry input at the 2015 SAG Conference in Canada.

“I also acknowledge the inspiration and collaboration of Chris Greet (Magotteaux), Evert Lessing (formerly Weir, now Metso Outotec), Malcolm Powell (formerly The University of Queensland) and Greg Lane (Ausenco) for contributing expert input and data to the work,” Dr Ballantyne said.

“New research ideas and collaboration with industry are key to industry innovation,” he said. “Support and mentoring from these suppliers as well as experts from Ausenco and The University of Queensland ensured these new ideas could be published for industry to progress thinking.”

In addition to the two CEEC Medals awarded in 2020, three publications received High Commendations.

High Commendations – Operations

Ben Adair, Luke Keeney, and Michael Scott from CRC ORE, and David King from Minera San Cristóbal operations, for their paper titled ‘Gangue rejection in practice – the implementation of Grade Engineering® at the Minera San Cristóbal Site’. This was presented at Physical Separation 2019, in Cornwall, United Kingdom.

This paper shares the prediction and outcomes of a Grade Engineering pilot at Sumitomo’s Minera San Cristóbal operations in Bolivia. The work identifies ore amenability and levers to optimise up-front rejection of gangue before processing.

Keogh said: “This approach highlights the scale of the opportunity for mining leaders to invest in unlocking hidden value for shareholders through productivity step-change while significantly reducing impact on the environment.”

High Commendations – Operations (continued)

Malcolm Powell, Ceren Bozbay, Sarma Kanchibotla, Benjamin Bonfils, Anand Musunuri, Vladimir Jokovic, Marko Hilden, Jace Young and Emrah Yalcin, for their article titled ‘Advanced Mine-to-Mill Used to Unlock SABC Capacity at the Barrick Cortez Mine’. This was presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver.

This work was a collaboration between three organisations: JKMRC at The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, Barrick’s Cortez mine and JK Tech. It shares an advanced mine-to-mill approach that unlocks improved SABC production capacity at Barrick’s Cortez mine in Nevada, USA.

Dr Pokrajcic said the article was an excellent review of the dynamic between SAG and ball mills, illustrating how mine-to-mill, with the consideration of blast movement as well as fragmentation, and operation-wide optimisation could empower sites to identify and sustain long-term improvements.

“It highlights the opportunity of operationalising cooperative ore blend control to balance energy use across the milling circuit, reducing specific energy consumption while benefitting from increased production,” she said.

High Commendation – Technical Research

Paul Shelley and Ignacio Molina (Molycop) and Dimitrios Patsikatheodorou (Westgold Resources), for their paper titled ‘SAG mill optimisation insights by measuring inside the mill’. This was presented at the Procemin-Geomet Conference in Santiago, Chile, in 2019.

In a first for industry, this innovative approach aims to collect data from sensors inside the grinding balls within grinding mills, CEEC said. It brings potential application for high frequency measurement of temperature and impacts inside the mill.

Dr Pokrajcic said: “If this early work can be successfully commercialised and scaled up, it could bring new insights that link to operational and energy efficiency improvements.”

Keogh said nominations for the 2021 CEEC Medal were now open, and she encouraged the submission of relevant, ground-breaking articles from online events and industry presentations.

“Because of disruptions to physical events, we have extended the closing date for submissions to October 30, 2021.”

Details of the application process for the 2021 CEEC Medal can be found here.

Maptek, PETRA Data Science combine mine schedule optimisation and digital twin expertise

In what is claimed to be an industry first, Maptek and PETRA Data Science have established a partnership to enable “seamless value chain optimisation and simulation” from resource models through to metal produced.

This development will allow mining companies, for the first time, to use millions of tonnes of their historical performance and resource metadata for dynamic optimisation, according to the two companies.

PETRA Managing Director, Penny Stewart (pictured, left), said: “I see Maptek as the go-to company for spatial data in mining. Whether you are looking at their 3D virtual environments for geological modelling and mine optimisation, or long-range laser scanners for 3D mapping and monitoring, every aspect is custom built for mining. Any true digital twin in mining needs to consider geology.”

She continued: “Our partnership with Maptek provides PETRA with easy access to upstream geological data for value chain optimisation, and enables Maptek to extend schedule optimisation downstream of the mine. For the first time, miners will be able to play forward the mine schedule into the processing plant.”

Stewart recently visited the Maptek R&D facility in Adelaide, South Australia, where she listened as the Manufacturing Manager explained how in response to customer requests, they have shed 4 kg off the weight of their scanners, she said.

“The custom-built innovations incorporating aerospace technology and military grade specs are really impressive. I mention this example because it illustrates Maptek’s laser focus on their mining customers, and this is strongly aligned with PETRA’s reason for being.”

She concluded: “As a mining engineer, I know that Maptek’s reputation for maintaining substantial investment in software and hardware for spatial data is second to none. I feel honoured that Maptek has chosen to partner with PETRA, and the whole PETRA team is excited by what this partnership will achieve for the mining industry!”

The integrated technology offerings of PETRA and Maptek cover solutions from geological modelling to plant and process optimisation and simulation. The partnership combines deep domain expertise from across the whole value chain and, together, PETRA and Maptek offer the industry a practical alternative to the common practice of siloed optimisation, according to the two companies.

Under the partnership, Maptek Evolution mine schedule optimisation will be dynamically linked to PETRA’s latest digital twin performance models including; metal produced, grade, quality, recovery and throughput. “Dynamic mine scheduling is made possible by bringing together Maptek optimisation engines and PETRA’s prediction and simulation algorithms,” they said.

The agreement will see Maptek BlastLogic blast design optimisation also benefit from dynamic links to PETRA digital twin models for loading, crushing and grinding. In addition, PETRA MAXTA digital twin blast design simulation will benefit from connection to BlastLogic historical drill and blast design data.

Stewart will continue to drive the growth and development of PETRA solutions, with Maptek Managing Director, Peter Johnson (pictured, right), appointed to the PETRA Advisory Board. “PETRA will continue to operate a platform-agnostic business model, with investment funds channelled into further development of PETRA’s open format integrations, including APIs and architecture,” the companies said.

Peter Johnson said Maptek’s goal to enable customers to realise greater value from the available mine data requires consideration of a context far beyond the orebody model and mine plan.

“We need to empower our customers to relate the performance and characteristics of processes and equipment far downstream from geology or planning assumptions and understand the relationships better,” he said.

“PETRA has a proven capability to create prediction and optimisation algorithms for miners through the innovative application of their data science expertise and experience in the real world,” he added.

He concluded: “Our investment and ongoing partnership is all about building business improvement into the mining cycle by leveraging the technology of both companies.”

PETRA’s algorithms are deployed by mining companies around the world, while its MAXTA digital twins for value chain optimisation ingest 10s of millions of tonnes of ore data to predict and simulate plant performance using machine learning. The latter have been successfully used for geometallurgical prediction, drill and blast simulation, and process control simulation and optimisation.

The company recently applied its big data and AI capabilities to an iron ore mine in Western Australia, which, according to PETRA Technical Director, Zeljka Pokrajcic, was able to demonstrate the link between the mineral resource and comminution.