Mineral recovery performance in marine mining

Garnett, R. H. T.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
Recovery performance may be measured in absolute terms or in relative ones that relate the actual mining outcome to what was expected. Consideration is possible in terms of the control exercised by the operator. The eventual mineral output is the only figure known with complete certainty. The paradox is that, while performance is judged against the sampling, the reverse also applies. The R/Efactor and its four component factors are the best overall measures of performance. The choice of equipment for sampling and mining is very important. The sampling process may introduce errors and the sample density may lead to poor mining block selection. The resulting recovery performance is most visible on a regression curve. Changes in the cutoff grade must also be taken into account to avoid unrealistic production targets. Estimation methods incorporating different mathematical assumptions and techniques may cause over-or underestimation of the grade and volume. If the selective ability of the mining equipment does not match the size of the reserve blocks, the performance will be compromised. The treatment plant efficiency, the throughput rate and the degree of bedrock clean-up also affect performance. The maximization of throughput does not yield the optimum results. Marine conditions, which are outside the operator's control, affect not only operational availability but also performance. Examples are provided from actual operations for various commodities, showing the relative magnitude of the different effects upon performance.
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