Recent Initiatives In Reducing Dilution At Konkola Mine, Zambia
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2005
Dilution reduction is one of the areas that offer metal mines an opportunity to increase revenue and reduce costs, resulting in enhanced profits. Effective dilution control programmes require interaction on a multi-disciplinary level. This paper outlines recent initiatives undertaken at Konkola Mine to reduce dilution and increase revenue. The increase in revenue arising from reduced dilution and high factors between in situ and delivered to mill grades were quantified and amount to close to U$ 1.0 million per one per cent improvement in grade factor at a 75c/lb copper price. Sources of dilution from open and in?stope mining methods practised at the mine were identified and a multi-disciplinary dilution control forum set up to control these. Among the major achievements were the introduction of low dilution in-stope mining methods; the introduction of Gemcom geological and mining planning software to replace traditional pencil and paper methods, leading to better in situ estimation and production planning; enhanced control in open stopes through dilution awareness among mining production personnel; location of critical secondary development ends in correct positions; enhanced blast hole control; tracking of development waste by metal tracers and monthly tally; implementation of a cavity monitoring system to check over-breaks in open stopes; and setting up of a stope history database. The results from the cavity monitoring system showed that stopes with over-breaks of 5 metres or less could be controlled to break along the hangingwall contact.