Tonnes, Grade and Economics - The ZC Mine Experience 1985-1988

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1990
From the mid-1970s ZC Mines at Broken Hill had a policy to increase ore production rates at progressively lower head grades. In the mid-1980s the mine suffered crippling losses at a time of low metal prices. An important contributory factor was the inherent geological distribution of metal grades in the seven defined ore lenses. Grades are bimodal, and perhaps, trimodal, in each ore lens. There is a tonnage deficiency in the critical cut-off grade zone of 7-10% Pb+Zn. Lowering the cut-off grade introduced siliceous and pyrrhotitic material which resulted in significantly poorer metallurgical performance. This example shows that the mine geologist needs to know the grade distribution of the orebody and to convey clearly the downstream implications of changes in the head grade.
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