Capturing Lost Energy in Mineral Processing: Transforming Grinding in the Mining Industry
Comminution, the fine grinding of solids, is employed by many industries to achieve desired chemical and physical properties. It is estimated that 3% of the world’s electricity is consumed in comminution processes.
The grinding process results in significant energy loss. Less than 5% of the energy input is employed for the actual breaking of the particles. The remaining 95% is heat loss at relatively low temperatures, otherwise known as low grade waste energy. This is a common challenge in the mining industry with as much as 50% of energy used in the mining process lost as low grade waste energy during a number of processes, including as air is ventilated, as water is discharged from the mine, and even during tailings discharge.
With energy accounting for an average of 15–22% of total mine operating costs, significant innovation advances in comminution alone can yield major advances in energy efficiency, cost reduction, and emissions reduction with the use of new technologies.
Progress to Date
- Completed a pilot project to identify, map and model the flow of energy in grinding circuits to identify energy losses.
- An appraisal project identified a promising new technology that could significantly reduce energy in grinding circuits by as much as 50%.
- Launched phase 1 of a 6-phase plan and to potentially commercialize a new comminution technology that may save energy in comminution circuits by as much as 50%
- Completed a technology roadmap for energy in the mining business.
- Completed and published a matrix for energy technology evaluation.
- Held a joint workshop with the Coalition for Energy Efficiency in Comminution (CEEC) with over 70 attendees. Read more >
The Energy/Processing group is led by Chair Simon Hille, VP Technical Services, Goldcorp.
Dr. Sam Marcuson is working with CMIC to define and execute on innovation priorities in the broad topic of comminution with an initial focus on energy.
If you are interested in joining our Processing Portfolio working group, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us.