The Strategic And Tactical Value Of A 3D Geotechnical Model For Mining Optimization, Anglo Platinum, Sandsloot Open Pit

Bye, A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2006
Sandsloot open pit is situated on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, 250 km north east of Johannesburg, South Africa. Sandsloot is currently the largest open pit platinum mine in the world and is one of six potential open pits in the area. The geotechnical strength properties of the Platreef have posed significant mining and processing challenges to the PPRust operation since inception in 1992. In order to optimize the whole business as opposed to isolated cost centres a mine to mill initiative was embarked upon in 1997. Initial work focused on ore characterization and an entire suite of data was collected for each rock type. This included mineralogy, geochemistry, geotechnical, blast ability indices, as well as metallurgical strength data. The second phase involved the clear definition of customer requirements, namely the optimum performance criteria for the plant and mining departments. This involved extensive field trials and data capture to measure the interaction and influence of the mine to mill value chain. Once the design targets were defined, a 3D geotechnical model was constructed to ensure that the targets were consistently achieved. The model is very similar to an ore reserve model; however, it is populated with geotechnical, metallurgical and blast index data. Through software queries the appropriate blast powder factor for each mining block can be obtained, thereby ensuring the correct fragmentation is blasted for the plant and mining operation. The initiative has delivered significant results showing improvements across the mine to mill value chain. These include increased loading rates, reduced electricity and crushing consumables, as well as higher plant throughput. Additionally, the initiative has benefited both brownfield and greenfield projects on the PPRust operation
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