Minimization of Delays in Plant Startups

McNulty, Terry P.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
During the last 30 years, at least ten authors have dealt with startup ("ramp-up') times for minerals beneficiation, hydrometallurgical, and/or pyrometallurgical plants. Most have attempted to identity the reasons for delays and some have suggested attributes common to successful startups, as well as those shared by unsuccessful ones. The most recent has advanced a project characterization matrix as a predictive tool for qualified users. This paper will summarize past work, will review cause and effect, will outline an approach for refining our ability to avoid costly delays, and will seek guidance from professionals most likely to use such a tool. INTRODUCTION During the last few decades, many billions of dollars have been lost by investors in mineral industry projects that did not perform as well as their developers had hoped. The most common form of failure has been the inability to generate a profit quickly, and delayed achievement of planned production rate has been the chief cause. Minerals processing projects are by no means the only kind of plant to suffer from startup delays, as some authors cited in this paper considered inorganic chemical plants and other types of facilities. Furthermore, mines are not without fault and there have been many that were closed after years of disappointing performance. However, our interests as a group are most sharply focused on mineral processing and our database for such projects is relatively extensive. It is sufficient to say that the conclusions made or repeated in the following text can be readily extended to most types of projects.
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