Mogalakwena Selective Blasting Trial

As part of its commitment to put technology in the hands of end-users, CRC ORE conducted a site base case study in Selective Blasting at the Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena operation in South Africa. With support from industry sponsor Neville Plint, Head of Research and Development at Anglo Platinum, the February trial utilised Selective Blast Design technology developed as part of Research Program 2 to significantly improve the grade of ore being fed to the mill.

mogalakwena researchersSelective Blasting achieves these results by using geometallurgical data to target high yield sections of the ore body with greater blast energy, resulting in fine fragment sizes in high grade material. Low grade ore is distributed to coarse fragments, allowing for separation prior to grinding. This enables the mill to process material at a very high grade, without low grade material driving down the average. Flow-on effects are seen in a potential 20% increase in the viability of low-grade material, as well as a possible 30% reduction in waste processing.

The February trial upgraded feed to the mill by upwards of 25% across all streams, an early success for CRC ORE case studies. This was achieved in spite of “worst case scenario” conditions at the site, where unseasonal rain necessitated manual cleaning of blast holes and extensive re-drills to achieve the 3D energy distribution required.

Fragment separation from CRC ORE selective blasting research The work leading up to the trial has been a collective project by specialists working on Selective Blasting methodologies. It has been determined that selective blasting facilitates ore beneficiation and waste removal in the early stages of the extraction process through the specific fragmenting of the blast. This allows the grade to be partitioned by screening prior to the ore entering the processing circuit, reaping large gains in efficiency.

This trial involved an advanced blast targeting high-grade material for greater fragmentation, followed by coarse particle screening to remove oversize, bringing about an upgrade in the ROM ore. The layout of the site enabled the project team to conduct the trial with no real interference to day-to-day operations.

In early April, Dr Marcin Ziemski travelled to South Africa to run the blast material through the plant using SmartTagsTM to ensure that the feed was the correct material.  One third of the blast volume was processed and the lab findings demonstrated an upgraded feed by factors of 2 to 2.5 times expected grade across all streams.

 Graph of selective blasting results from CRC ORE researchGraph of selective blasting results from CRC ORE

Highlighted area indicates the period in which feed from the trial passed through the mill. Head grade was as much as 2.5 times the planned feed grade.



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