The Modeling of Rock and Ball Charge Motion in Sag Mills
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1998
Primary grinding in SAG mills is gaining more importance with respect to the conventional crushing, rod and ball milling operations. This is due to the reduced operating costs generated by lower steel consumption. However. SAG milling is inherently susceptible to more severe risks and problems since it attempts to combine several stages of the conventional crushing and grinding into a single stage. This paper analyzes the SAG milling operation by predicting the motion of rocks and steel balls. The well-known discrete element method (DEM) is used to calculate the trajectories of individual entities, and their collision with one another. A computer code previously used for studying the motion of grinding media in ball mills is enhanced to handle the interaction between heavy spherical steel balls and light chunks of rocks, usually ellipsoidal in shape. The DEM based software called MILLSOFT can animate the charge motion for different design of liners. A case study of a 9.75-m diameter SAG mill is presented and the effects of lifter bar height and configuration on the overall dynamics of the charge are discussed. Also the effect of spacing between liners on lifting the charge is presented. This new approach has a large potential because it shows in detail the effect of each design or operating parameter on the performance of SAG mills.