State of the SAG

Vanderbeek, James L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
INTRODUCTION Semiautogenous (SAG) grinding technology first started to be seriously considered for comminution circuit design in the mid-1960s as an alternative to the three-stage crushing circuits and rod-ball mill circuits in vogue at the time. Since this time the application of SAG mill technology has become widespread with over 250 mills larger than 20 feet in diameter sold (Jones 2002). The vast majority of concentrators constructed over the past quarter century have utilized SAG mill technology, and a SAG-based comminution-based circuit is generally the first choice considered for new projects. Since the first generation of SAG milling technology was applied, many lessons have been learned, and new supporting technologies have emerged which make the design, installation and operation of SAG &-based grinding circuits more robust and efficient. This paper will discuss the current status of SAG and associated technologies. MILL MECHANICAL DESIGN ISSUES Table 1 summarizes the manner in which SAG design capability has evolved over the past 30 years. Increases in mill diameter came slowly as the industry took a wait-and-see attitude as the technology of larger mill diameters was advanced. The first 32-foot- diameter mill was ordered in 1969. It was not until 1979 that the technology jumped to the 34-foot-diameter mill and 1988 for the first 36-foot-diameter mill. The first 38- and 40-foot-diameter mills were both ordered in 1996. At least five 38-foot-diameter and two 40-foot-diameter mills will be in operation by mid-2004. Advances in structural analytical techniques and increased computational power, coupled with field measurements of large operating mills, have increased the confidence of the mill suppliers in their designs and the operating companies in the viability of larger diameter mills. No failures of a 36-foot-diameter mill or larger have been
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