Comminution is energy-intensive and accounts for a large percentage of a mine’s operating costs. A new injection of funding from METS Ignited and the Queensland Government will help CEEC enhance global energy curves tools and deliver increased value across the sector
A one-off injection of funds is set to support mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies to drive more sustainable and productive mining practices. The new $469 000, three-year CEEC Advanced Energy Curves Project is being funded through a partnership between the Queensland Government; METS Ignited, an Australian Government Industry Growth Centre; and CEEC International Ltd.
The project will provide new tools and workshops to help industry identify energy-efficient approaches that can unlock significant value. Proven, low-cost and low-capex strategies can improve minerals processing and resource efficiency and lead to lower costs and improved shareholder value.
New tools for industry
The funding agreement will enable ten practical enhancements to the suite of free energy curve tools, to enhance site use and increase uptake of the independent tools by METS companies.
Hosted on CEEC’s website, the global energy curves enable mining companies to benchmark and compare their energy performance to similar operations worldwide and to strive for best practice. The energy intensity of each mine is presented in a graphical form, similar to a cost curve, and mines can contribute anonymously to the database on which the tools are based.
CEEC’s energy curves help mining operations to deliver on their sustainable development targets, particularly in relation to energy, water and carbon footprint. By focusing on comminution circuits, the new tools will help sites consider best approaches to the most energy-efficient combination of steps across the mining value chain. Comminution is often a key constraint to productivity, and accounts for up to three per cent of the world’s annual electrical energy consumption. At most hard rock mine sites, comminution uses 30-50 per cent of the electrical energy. Energy is an important cost focus, contributing
10-50 per cent of a mine’s operating expenditure..
Dr Grant Ballantyne, Senior Research Fellow at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) within The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), has developed the existing tools that rank relative energy intensity of mines, taking into account the effect of ore hardness, circuit efficiency, grind size and feed grade. The Director of SMI, Professor Neville Plint, said Dr Ballantyne would lead the new energy curves enhancement work.
‘As part of the CEEC Advanced Energy Curves Project, the researchers will expand energy curves parameters to include ancillary energy, embodied energy, energy cost,
blasting impact, comminution circuit type, global hardness measures, the calibration of fine grinding, liberation and recovery, and the variance in distributions between different commodities,’ he said.
‘This will provide the opportunity for mines to confidentially benchmark their performance within their business and the industry.’
Sharing new tools and insights through workshops
In parallel to this research, a series of workshops are being rolled out across Australia, then globally, to assist mining and METS companies apply the new tools. The workshops give the companies an opportunity to connect and collaborate, assess new technologies, share successful case studies and learn how to improve their energy footprint.
Industry leaders and experts at CEEC’s workshops share their practical experiences and help apply the energy curves to a range of operational scenarios. Participants plot the impact of different mining strategies, alternative equipment and circuit designs on energy and value.
For mining leaders, CEEC workshops are a great chance to consider how much value can be harnessed by addressing the energy efficiency of comminution and mineral processing across their business. Leaders learn about a wide range of practical options that can be put in place to future-proof sites from spikes in energy prices, and pick up practical ways to deliver on sustainability targets.
Plant operators engage with experts on successful implementation case studies from around the world. Operators learn how to apply the energy curves to identify what they can do now to improve the energy efficiency of their plant or comminution circuit, what their future improvement options are, and the best emerging technologies to suit operational needs.
For METS companies and industry researchers, the workshops provide the background they need to target their energy reduction technologies and services to mining operations internationally, potentially boosting jobs and regional opportunities. Participants hear operators’ latest needs, helping direct research and development and future solutions towards real industry challenges.
Interactive workshop activities help all attendees share mineral processing and comminution insights and innovative approaches, so decision-makers can consider which energy efficient technologies and services have the potential to offer different sites the greatest benefits.
CEEC has held workshops around the world since 2011, across South Africa, Europe, South America and North America. This funding rolls out new updates across Australia, and started with a Melbourne workshop in October 2017, attracting more than 40 participants. Participants have rated the workshops highly, reporting them to be ‘engaging, collaborative and strategic’, with motivating keynote speakers and practical improvements from the workshop that they can apply on site.
New tools will be progressively delivered in workshops beginning in Brisbane on 27 August, Mt Isa in mid-November in 2018, and then New South Wales and Western Australia in 2019.
The total value of the CEEC Advanced Energy Curves Project funding agreement is $469 083.85. This comprises $200 057.85 from Queensland Government for enhancements to the energy curves, $94 513 from METS Ignited to roll out the workshops around Australia and for other communication initiatives, $40 000 from Queensland Government for the Queensland workshops, and a $134 513 co-contribution from the mining industry via CEEC.
CEEC is an international, not-for-profit organisation, entirely funded by sponsorship from the minerals industry – it was established by the industry, for the industry. Its mission is to share energy efficient mining processes to help lower costs, increase productivity and improve shareholder value, with a focus on comminution. To drive this mission, CEEC has established a collaborative global network of mining leaders, technical experts and researchers.
CEEC communicates good practice, case studies and advances through its network and its website, which is an important resource for professionals. CEEC has established the globally-recognised, prestigious CEEC Medal to celebrate outstanding examples of operational improvement and research. Funding by CEEC’s sponsors has enabled industry and researchers to collaborate, develop and provide free of charge the global energy curves via CEEC’s website. As a result, CEEC’s resources and the free tools are available to all mine sites, METS companies and researchers.
CEEC’s CEO and Board welcomes new sponsors to continue its work. CEEC’s visionary sponsors are leading minerals industry businesses who enable these public-good initiatives, helping drive sustainable outcomes and value for industry: Anglo American, Antofagasta Minerals, Ausenco, Barrick Gold, Bechtel, CRC ORE, Donhad, Eriez, FL Smidth, Freeport McMoran, Gekko Systems, Glencore Technology, Goldcorp, Hatch, Metso, New Gold Inc, Newmont, Orica, Oz Minerals, PETRA Data Science, Sandvik, Steinert, TOMS Institute and Weir Minerals.
CEEC’s facilities and other in-kind support is provided by AMIRA International, Austmine, IMARC, Minerals Engineering International, UQ Sustainable Minerals Institute and the AusIMM.