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  • Improving productivity
    though innovation

    Improving operational value and reversing the marked trend of declining productivity
  • New ways to identify
    and nurture innovation

    Technology development and implementation for the global minerals industry
  • User-driven
    partnership model

    Collaborations between technology developers, commercial suppliers and end users
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Participants

The Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) is founded under the Cooperative Research Centres programme.

CRC DIIS CRC Business AusGov Industry 100K

The Centre is supported by AMIRA, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Bear Rock Solutions, BHP, Comet Strategy, CRC Mining, CSIRO, Curtin, DataMine Australia, Gekko Systems, Glencore, Hatch, IMDEX, JKTech, Magotteaux, METS Ignited, Mipac, MRIWA, Newcrest, NRC Canada, Orica, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Scantech, Sedgman, Sodern, Split Engineering, SRK Consulting Canada, Sumitomo, Teck, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland (UQ), University of Tasmania (UTAS) and Whittle Consulting.

MINING Participants (implementation)

Anglo American
AngloGold Ashanti
BHP Billiton
Newcrest
Glencore
Teck
Sumitomo

METS Participants (delivery)

Hatch
IMDEX
JKTech
METS Ignited
Orica
Sedgman
Sodern

METS Associates: Bear Rock Solutions, Comet Strategy, DataMine Australia, Gekko Systems, Magotteaux, Mipac, Whittle Consulting, Scantech, SRK Consulting Canada, Split Engineering

RESEARCH Participants

AMIRA
CSIRO
Curtin University
Mining3 (formerly CRC Mining)
MRIWA

NRC Canada
QUT
The University of Adelaide
The University of Queensland
UTAS

27 September 2017: CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering® technology has headlined at four major international mining conferences during August and September. Read on for more details on each of the papers presented and to download the presentation slide decks.

This article was published in CRC ORE News - September 2017

CRC ORE headlines at international mining conferences

CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering® technology has headlined at four major international mining conferences during August and September.

GEOMIN MINEPLANNING 2017
23-15 August, Santiago, Chile
  International Symposium on Mine Planning & Equipment Selection (MPES2017) 29-31 August, Lulea, Sweden

Event Mike Scott Geomin

 

Event Carlos Espejel MPES 2017

Dr Michael Scott, CRC ORE Project Evaluation Specialist, presented the paper: “Evaluation of Grade Engineering® using Enterprise Optimization”.

Abstract   Presentation

 

 Carlos Espejel, CRC ORE Mine Planning Engineer and UQ/CRC ORE PhD Student, presented the paper: “Economic Benefits and Technical Complexities of Grade Engineering® in Strategic Mine Planning of Metalliferous Projects”.

Abstract   Presentation

     
EFEE World Conference on Explosives
10-11 September 2017, Stockholm, Sweden 
  International Mining Geology Conference
20-22 September 2017, Hobart, Australia 

David La Rosa, CRC ORE Principle Mining Engineer, presented the paper: “The development of a new geometrical blast fragmentation model and its application to Grade Engineering”.

Abstract   Presentation

 

Dr Stephen Walters, former CRC ORE Chief Technologist, presented the paper: “Driving Productivity by Increasing Feed Quality as Well as Quantity through Application of Innovative Grade Engineering® Technologies”.

Abstract   Presentation


CRC ORE has also been involved in a host of activities and events on home soils. A couple of highlights for the month included promoting the new Kalgoorlie Boulder Mining Innovation Hub at Diggers and Dealers and a UQ hosted Chinese delegation.

Chinese delegation mining resource development and research
5 September, Brisbane, Australia
Diggers and Dealers 2017
6-8 August, Kalgoorlie, Australia

 Event Clytie Dangar Chinese Delegation

 

Event Diggers and Dealers 2017 WASM

Clytie Dangar was recently invited to present a short presentation on CRC ORE to a visiting Chinese delegation hosted the by the Australia-China Technology Economic and Exchange Centre. The delegation was led by the Deputy Director of the Department of Mineral Exploitation Management and Ministry of Land and Resources of China, Zhu Zhenfang, and included representatives from regional land and resource development and geological departments. The delegation was particularly interested in understanding the role of government in supporting mining resource development and research activities. The delegation also heard from Professor Gideon Chitombo from SMI-BRC at the University of Queensland on the work he is leading around Mass Mining Technology (MMT) in underground operations.

 

Interest in the proposed Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub escalated at this year’s Diggers and Dealers in Kalgoorlie. CRC ORE’s Paul Revell, Luke Keeney, Clytie Dangar and Jon Rutter met with a host of potential collaborators over the course of the event.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub sponsored a room at the iconic nearby Hannan’s Club. In the spirit of the hub initiative, the meeting room was made available as a collaboration space for the industry throughout the event.

The Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) showed their support for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub initiative, promoting the Hub on their trade stand at the event.

 To read about upcoming events, please click here

 

RELATED ARTICLES OF INTEREST


This article was published in CRC ORE News - June 2017

Out and about

30 June 2017: A centre stage presence for CRC ORE at Austmine, a flying visit to Canadian Institute of Mining 2017 conference and a Chilean delegation on a fact-finding mission in Australia are just a few highlights from the CRC ORE team out and about since our last edition of CRC ORE News.

CRC ORE takes centre stage at Austmine 2017

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  CRC ORE Directors Gavin Yeates and Christian Larsen at the Austmine 2017 dinner. Photo supplied by Austmine.

CRC ORE was pleased to be part of Austmine 2017, which was held in Perth on 22 – 24 May.

The event was well attended this year with good representation by METS, Miners, Researchers and Government representatives. There were several newcomers this year, particularly in the digital integration space, which was a strong theme of the conference. The general mood at the conference was upbeat with tangible evidence of new approaches and openness developing around technology development and collaboration.

Clytie Dangar presented a talk titled Collaboration – The Value Multiplier in the opening session. The presentation focussed on profiling collaboration in action within CRC ORE around Grade Engineering®, the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub. The talk was well received and generated positive comment and interest at the CRC ORE booth during the conference.

A wide range of interactions were had and contacts made during the conference by CRC ORE representatives in attendance

Please contact us if you would like to access a copy of the presentation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CRC ORE at the Physical Separation 2017 conference

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  CRC ORE consultant, Dr Rob Morrison, Curtin University’s Jacques Eksteen and JKMRC Consultant, Tim Napier-Munn at the Physical Separation 2017 conference.

Attendees at this year’s Physical Separation conference in Cornwall in the United Kingdom were particularly interested in the papers presented by CRC ORE at the event. The first CRC ORE paper, Integration of Coarse Separation Options to Drive Value in Mining Operations, was presented by Steve Walters. It gave the audience excellent insights into CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering® technology.

A second CRC ORE paper, Comminution Devices for More Sustainable Processing, also provided a lot of interest for attendees. This paper was presented by CRC ORE consultant, Rob Morrison, who had written the paper together with CRC ORE’s Ben Adair and Steve Walters, and Sandy Grey of Gekko.

A few days earlier, CRC ORE had also delivered a paper at the Computational Modelling 2017 conference. CRC ORE and Queensland University of Technology Researcher, Dr Suriadi Suriadi, presented a well-received paper on Decoupling the Impact of Rock Properties and Operational Settings on Minerals Processing Performance: A Data-driven Approach.

 

Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) 2017 conference

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In May, CRC ORE Program 1 Coordinator, Greg Wilkie, attended the CIM 2017 conference held in Montreal Canada. The theme of the conference was “New State of Mine” which was aimed at providing delegates with a vision of the mining in the future.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) sponsored a booth at the conference and invited CRC ORE to be represented on the booth.

After the conference, Greg visited the NRC laboratories at Boucherville and met with the NRC team assigned to the LIBS Mineralogy project being run out of CRC ORE’s Program 2: Separate. During the trip, Greg took the opportunity to meet with Teck at their offices in Vancouver.

 

Chilean delegation

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  Chilean mining entrepreneurs were interested in the mechanisms CRC ORE uses to foster technology development through collaboration with Miners, METS and Researchers.

On 17 May, CRC ORE hosted a delegation from Endeavor Atacama, a group of Chilean mining entrepreneurs visiting Australia on a fact-finding mission. The delegation was part of the Alignment of Capability for Internationalisation program, a technological development program financed by CORFO, the Chilean Production Development Corporation. This was organised and executed by Endeavour Chile, a not-for-profit dedicated to fostering high-impact entrepreneurship.

The delegation was led by Mauro Mezzano, CEO of Vantaz a Chilean headquartered consultancy with operations in Australia.

The delegates represented a range of companies offering products and services in a wide range of fields associated with mining including biotechnology, novel recycling engineering services, asset management software, dust shields and safe handling equipment to name a few.

They were particularly interested in understanding how the CRC ORE program is structured and specific mechanisms CRC ORE uses to foster technology development through collaboration with Miners, METS and Researchers.

 

Magotteaux joins as an Associate Participant

ore CRC ORE Associate Participant Magotteaux
 

CRC ORE welcomes its newest Associate Participant, Magotteaux.

Magotteaux supplies process optimisation products and services for high-abrasion extracting industries globally. Specialising in the use of high chromium alloys in grinding media as well as composite materials in the manufacturing of high value added products, Magotteaux’s technology combines an increased resistance to wear and shocks. Equipment includes a vertical shaft impactor, a classifier, filling sensors, an automated ball addition system and a pulp chemistry monitoring unit for the mining industry.

Magotteaux have joined CRC ORE as an Associate to be part of opportunities to collaborate for mutual benefit, particularly in relation to comminution.

 

CEEC and CRC ORE collaboration

ore ceec logo
 

CRC ORE has this month announced its sponsorship of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution, better known by its acronym CEEC.

CRC ORE’s focus fits neatly within CEEC’s energy efficiency remit. CRC ORE’s collaborative approach aims to catalyse breakthrough technologies and achieve significant improvements in productivity and energy efficiency. CEEC’s Energy Curves have been developed and refined over several years, in collaboration with global mining experts and researchers. This includes the University of Queensland’s Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre. They provide a practical tool for benchmarking of mine energy comminution.

CRC ORE and CEEC are proud to collaborate with the mining and METS sector to support technology advances and energy efficient mineral production.

 

Events of interest coming up in 2017

There are a host of mining related events coming up. Following is a list of key events that CRC ORE will be keenly involved with, either in a presenting capacity or supporting as a sponsor. Wherever possible, CRC ORE supports a collaborative approach to events as we have found more penetrative engagement in teaming up with our Participants, such as with METS Ignited at IMARC.

DATE LOCATION EVENT
7-9 August 2017 Kalgoorlie Diggers and Dealers
23 August 2017 Santiago, Chile   GEOMIN17: 5th International Seminar on Mine planning
7 September 2017 Online CRC ORE Implementation Council (webinar)
20-22 September 2017 Hobart 10th International Mining Geology Conference 2017
10-11 September 2017  Stockholm, Sweden  EFEE World Conference on Explosives
16-18 October 2017 Gold Coast AusIMM Underground Operators' Conference 2017
20 October 2017 Kalgoorlie MetFest 2017
30 Oct – 2 Nov 2017     Melbourne     IMARC International Mining and Resources Conference 2017
21 November 2017 Brisbane CRC ORE Annual Assembly 2017
22 November 2017 Brisbane CRC ORE Implementation Council (face to face)

 
If you would like to talk to us about a collaborative presence at an upcoming event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Article published in CRC ORE News - February 2017

 

Out and about

 

February 2017: IMARC 2016, an Innovation in Mining Forum in Brisbane and Newcrest taking the podium at the Melbourne Mining Club recently were just a few highlights from CRC ORE staff and Participants out and about since our last edition of CRC ORE News. We also take a look at some upcoming events of interest during 2017.

Innovation in Mining Forum

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  Ben Adair discussed how innovation can be leveraged at a recent Innovation in Mining Forum in Brisbane

A lively discussion on the role of innovation in mining was the centre piece of a recent Innovation in Mining Forum presented by Department of State Development and Deloitte. CRC ORE CEO, Ben Adair was invited to be part of a panel of industry leaders at the event. Facilitated by Deloitte partner, Nicki Ivory, the panel delved into the role of innovation in the mining industry and how companies are influence innovation in the pursuit of productivity, safety and operational excellence. Ben discussed how innovation can be leveraged and the opportunities for Australian mining businesses.

The event, held in Brisbane in December, was staged to launch Deloitte’s Innovation in Mining Australia 2016 report. The report presents the innovation landscape as it stands in Australia and identifies key innovation drivers and focus areas from which to bring to life the mine of tomorrow.

Deloitte has made the report available on its website.

To download your copy of the plan click here

Melbourne Mining Club

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  Newcrest’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas addressing the Melbourne Mining Club

Newcrest’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, took the podium at the Melbourne Mining Club’s 9 February meeting to talk about ‘The age of the innovators’ in mining. Clytie Dangar, CRC ORE’s GM Stakeholder Engagement attended as a guest of Newcrest to hear the address.

Sandeep told the packed room that the mining sector needed more breakthroughs and that we need them faster. Showing that Australia was no stranger to leading the way with innovation, Sandeep touched on some of Australia’s long history of innovation in mining, giving examples of step change advances with the advent of flotation, bulk explosives, mechanised mining and large mills. He talked about the necessity of building an innovator’s mindset if we are going to continue to run viable businesses in mining.

Sandeep said he regards more efficiently separating metal from the rock as one of the most significant productivity opportunities for the industry. Cracking this problem, would lower unit costs, reduce energy and water consumption, and secure longer-life operations.

Touching on work already going on in that space, he said Newcrest was fortunate to be an early partner of CRC ORE, which is working to improve overall productivity. Sandeep highlighted a CRC ORE collaboration project which identifies at which point in the process waste could be liberated from ore on Newcrest’s Telfer operation in Western Australia. By working together, the groups identified material which was being put through the SAG mill that was nearing tailing grades. By rejecting the scats, processing rates were boosted by 20 percent and unit cost reduced, resulting in a very small impact on recoveries.

This was an important advance for reducing unnecessary processing. Sandeep said the beauty of this collaboration with CRC ORE was that the learning could be shared with the other project participants who have also benefited.

Sandeep finished by underscoring to the audience that the journey of innovation is far from complete and the task too large for any one company. He talked about the need for broad-based industry co-operation and said that organisations, such as CRC ORE, are the natural vehicles for collaboration on the “big ticket” industry issues affecting all.

A video of the presentation and a downloadable copy of the slide deck is available from the Melbourne mining Club website here.

 

IMARC 2016 

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  Jon Loraine presenting a workshop for METS companies at IMARC 2016

METS companies were given the chance to get the low-down on CRC ORE at the successful IMARC 2016 conference in Melbourne last year. CRC ORE Board Members, Jon Lorraine and Gavin Yeates, were invited to present a workshop for METS companies organised by METS Ignited. They told the interested group about CRC ORE and how to become involved.

The successful lunchtime workshop was the brainchild of METS Ignited, a key sponsor of IMARC 2016. Jon and Gavin were pleased that the theatrette was packed to the rafters for CRC ORE’s workshop. He congratulated METS Ignited on organising the schedule of breakfast and lunch workshops on a variety of topics, which provided an excellent format for engagement.

METS Ignited also had a trade stand and were a dinner sponsor at IMARC2016, which is a key event on the Australian mining calendar.

A copy of the presentation is available for download here

 

CSIRO sensors and magnetic resonance

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  Peter Coghill from CSIRO giving the CRC ORE team an update on CSIRO’s new gold sensor project

CRC ORE had a great opportunity to catch up with Peter Coghill and Tim Sennet from CSIRO when they dropped into CRC ORE’s Pullenvale offices recently. Peter gave the CRC ORE team an update on CSIRO’s new gold sensor project and worked through the application of magnetic resonance sensor in a site setting.

 

Events of interest coming up in 2017

There are a host of mining related events coming up throughout 2017. Following is a list of key events that CRC ORE will be keenly involved with, either in a presenting capacity or supporting as a sponsor. Wherever possible, CRC ORE supports a collaborative approach to events as we have found more penetrative engagement in teaming up with our Participants, such as with METS Ignited at IMARC.

DATE LOCATION EVENT
13-17 March 2017 Brisbane CRC ORE Researchers Forum and Professional Development Opportunity
22-24 May 2017 Perth Austmine 2017: Mining's Innovation Imperative
23-25 May 2017 Canberra CRC Association Annual Conference
10-11 June 2017 Cornwall, UK Computational Modelling
13-14 June 2017 Cornwall, UK International Mining Physical Separation
7-9 August 2017 Kalgoorlie Diggers and Dealers
23 August 2017 Santiago, Chile   GEOMIN17: 5th International Seminar on Mine planning
11-12 September 2017   Perth MetPlant 2017
4-6 October 2017 Santiago, Chile PROCEMIN: 13th International Minerals Processing Conference
GEOMET: 4th International Seminar on Geometallurgy
16-18 October 2017 Gold Coast AusIMM Underground Operators' Conference 2017
30 Oct – 2 Nov 2017     Melbourne     IMARC International Mining and Resources Conference 2017
21 November 2017 Brisbane CRC ORE Annual Assembly 2017

 

If you would like to talk to us about a collaborative presence at an upcoming event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Article published in CRC ORE News - November 2016

 

Out and about

 

November 2016: From a whirlwind trip around the world meeting with over half of our internationally-based Participants, to sponsoring and speaking at events here and abroad, to embedding specialists from our Participant organisations within the CRC ORE technical team. Here are just a few highlights from CRC ORE staff and Participants out and about since our last edition of CRC ORE News.

Around the world in 20 days

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  Luke Keeney and Ben Adair between meetings in Chicago

The CRC ORE team has returned from a hectic schedule of meetings and workshops with Participants across the globe. Between them, Ben Adair, Steve Walters and Luke Keeney covered Johannesburg, Paris, Salt Lake, Vancouver, Chicago, Trail, Phoenix and Santiago; visiting five mining companies, four METS, two researchers and two sites.

The schedule included visits with a number of collaborators, including:

  • Mining: Anglo American, Teck, Sumitomo.
  • METS: Metso, Sodern, Clareo, Orica.
  • Researchers: NRC Canada, Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN).
  • Sites: Mogalakwena, Carmen de Andacollo.

The CRC ORE team was impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the mining, METS and research Participants alike. Each group was keen to progress outcomes which would deliver for their organisation and the interests of the mining industry at large. This focus on synergistic, collaborative partnerships will underpin the successful outcomes of CRC ORE’s second funding term.

Technical specialists embedded within CRC ORE’s Innovation Delivery Group

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  Queensland University of Technology researchers, Dr Suriadi Suriadi and Dr Sander Leemans are based at CRC ORE two days a week until the end of the year as they deliver their research project.

On the home front, CRC ORE has kicked off an initiative of embedding technical experts from Participant organisations into its Innovation Delivery Group (IDG). This brings key technical people together to progress project outcomes.

Orica: METS company Orica has been engaging directly with CRC ORE on work intended to improve understanding of differential blasting for grade. The project, utilising Orica’s and CRC ORE’s substantial expertise-bases, will see ongoing cross-collaboration of staff who will work between the two company’s offices. Last month Orica Senior Scientist, Michael Rothery, spent a week working with the CRC ORE team at its QCAT offices and developing a detailed engagement plan. Michael has been seconded to CRC ORE program as part of the CRC ORE – Orica partnership.

Queensland University of Technology: Researchers are also taking up the opportunity to spend time based at QCAT, collaborating with the IDG team as they deliver their research projects. The Queensland University of Technology currently has two of its researchers, Dr Suriadi Suriadi and Dr Sander Leemans working from the CRC ORE office for two days a week on the Program 4 project ‘A roadmap for the application of advanced analytics to streamline business and operational processes in mining’. This project runs until the end of this year. This engagement is an opportunity to expand our current understanding and capability related to Big Data and Process Mining. Collaborating closely with our research participants will also help to drive development of outcomes suitable for integration into our Delivery Theme activities.

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  Carlos Espejel presenting a paper on the benefits of Grade Engineering® at Minin2016 in Santiago.

Minin2016 conference (Santiago, Chile)

CRC ORE PhD Student, Carlos Espejel, presented the case for Grade Engineering® (GE) at the Minin2016 conference in Santiago, Chile recently.

Co-authored with COMET Strategy, Carlos presented a paper which demonstrated that the successful application of Grade Engineering® techniques across the whole mine planning process can capture additional value for a mining operation.

The presentation established that applying GE across all the steps of mine planning optimisation (economic block modelling, final pit optimisation and production schedule optimisation) can achieve:

  • Improvements in the order of 3% to 15% to Net Present Value (NPV) across the overall project.
  • Throughput improvements ranging from 5 to 14% to the overall mill feed.
  • Head Grade improvements ranging from 3% to 10% to the overall mill feed.

Carlos is a CRC ORE PhD student embedded with CRC ORE’s Implementation Delivery Group (IDG) as a technical specialist. His work with the IDG concentrates on strategic mine planning, incorporating Grade Engineering®.

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  Chairing the session on environmental management at the recent Life of Mine for CRC ORE was former CRC ORE Director, Dr Geoff Oldroyd.

Life of Mine Conference

CRC ORE recently chaired a technical session on acid and metalliferous drainage at the Life-of-Mine 2016 conference held in Brisbane.

Chairing the session for CRC ORE was former CRC ORE Director, Dr Geoff Oldroyd, who had been heavily involved in CRC ORE’s environmental indicators program when he was on the Board of CRC ORE.

Dr Oldroyd navigated the crowd through a line-up of expert speakers who explored a diverse range of environmentally relevant topics, including:

  • Responsible management and transparent reporting across the project life cycle.
  • Geostatistics and sample numbers from an acid and metalliferous drainage perspective.
  • Defining residual risk for successful mine closure – a geochemical perspective.
  • Water-related data requirements for improved life cycle assessment of mining, mineral processing and tailings management.
  • Evaluating applications of bed and fly ash for controlling acid and metalliferous drainage – examples from Tasmanian mine wastes.

The CRC ORE sponsored session was an important component of the conference’s line up. The event was focused on the mining industry’s need for greater integration, innovation and holistic thinking to operate successful mine sites. Speakers shared the latest practices - from planning to sustainability – that are expected to replace the approaches and methodologies of the past.

 

Article published in CRC ORE News - July 2016

Amongst a plethora of visits with Participants in recent months has been an insightful look into cutting edge blasting technologies with ORICA and direct site engagement with blasting trials at Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine. There has been ongoing major involvement with BHP Billiton at Escondida in Chile and the team has spent time on site at Sumitomo’s Minera San Cristobal site in Bolivia. Closer to home, CRC Mining hosted the CRC team for a site visit, identifying synergies and opportunities for collaboration.

about us logoValue-enhancing opportunities come from on-site visits

CRC ORE continues to deliver site based studies with a number of Mining & METS Participants. The prime area of focus has been on investigation of two of the five Grade Engineering® levers; namely natural and induced deportment of grade during the first funding term of CRC ORE. Application of the remaining three levers (i.e. bulk sorting, particle sorting, dense media separation) will now be the key areas of focus for CRC ORE going forward.  Use of these is expected to increase in selected site studies as development activities and engagement with industry and METS increases.

There is a shift in this second term of CRC ORE away from the one-on-one studies of the past to consortia based projects between mining and METS Participants. While this process has already commenced in a number of recent projects, the introduction of CRC ORE’s Delivery Themes will also serve to focus technology integration activities going forward. 

Escondida Mining for Value Partnership

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  CRC ORE technical specialists David La Rosa and Cristian Carrasco on site.

15 June 2016: BHP Billiton, as an Implementation Mining Participant, has nominated its Minera Escondida site for CRC ORE to examine innovative technologies for use within the site’s current Mining for Value Project. The primary purpose of the Mining for Value Project is to focus on improving the grade, throughput and recovery. CRC ORE is working with METS companies on initiatives which could assist BHP Billiton in realising value from collaborative site initiatives.

The initially identified areas of focus for CRC ORE involvement are:

  • Investigating Grade Engineering principles to exploiting heterogeneity through Differential Blasting and Preferential Grade by Size deportment.
  • Utilisation of the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) to optimise parts of the value chain.
  • Utilising CRC ORE expertise on additional identified and agreed opportunities (e.g. sensing/sorting trials, geometallurgy, Blast PSD and ore tracking) throughout the course of the Mining for Value Project.

The partnership is currently focusing on two key areas namely, Differential Blasting and implementation of CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) onto site. This is the first commissioned project using IES, representing a major step forward in the evolution of IES from development status to application in end-user projects.

Los Bronces Advanced Concept Study & Blasting Trial

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  Anglo American and CRC ORE has been working jointly to redesign a new long term mine plan taking into account Grade Engineering principles.

1 June 2016: Anglo American is investigating possible fast-track implementation options at its Los Bronces site based on economic value identified in an extensive Grade Engineering Advanced concept study.

Site trials at Los Bronces have now progressed to technically validate the Grade Engineering opportunities identified in the concept study during which CRC ORE, the site team at Los Bronces and COMET Strategy worked jointly to redesign a new long term mine plan taking into account Grade Engineering principles.

CRC ORE Technical Specialists have spent significant time in Chile working with the site team and the mobile equipment operators.
Three production blast trials have been conducted. These showed that combining preferential grade by size and differential blasting improves Response Ranking numbers by 13% to 26%, noting that this result is highly dependent on underlying Ranking Responses and grade distributions. The result confirmed that grade by size is the primary value driver at Los Bronces, with differential blasting being a secondary driver. The summary outcomes of the three trials were:

  • Blast 1 was conducted in June 2015 with 33kt screened. The screening results produced a Response Ranking of 87. The minus 1 inch screened material represented 27% of the original mass, with an upgrade factor of 1.7 from the head grade.
  • Blast 2 was a differential blast which was done by only varying the charging in the high and low grade zones within the blast block. There was no change to the standard pattern design or any re-drilling conducted on the bench. Based on the screening results, the coarse low grade material had a blast P80 of ~160mm and the fine high grade material had a blast P80 of ~81mm. Results from the blast trial indicate that a good degree of separation was achieved between high grade and low grade material through differential blasting. An Overall Preferential Grade by Size Response Ranking of 80 was achieved, with an induced Response Ranking of 104 in the <1 inch material. This result indicated that the combination of natural and induced deportment provided an additional 13% to 26% improvement on the Response Ranking, dependent on the proportion of high and low grade ore across the bench.
  • Blast 3 was conducted as a “high intensity” blast assessing natural grade by size deportment. The trial assessed the impact of finer fragmentation on metal upgrading response at production scale. An overall Grade by Size Response Ranking value of 78 was achieved which provides an upgrade of 1.87 in 20% of the mass.

The pilot trials validated, at production scale, the upgrading potential of Los Bronces ores through natural and induced deportment. The trials provided Anglo American the confidence to investigate options for moving towards full-scale operational implementation.

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  CRC ORE touring the nearby CRC Mining facilities.

CRC Mining visit identifies capacity for collaboration

05 April 2016: CRC Mining recently hosted the CRC ORE team at its facilities in Pinjara Hills, during which the organisations had the opportunity to learn more about the core aspects of the respective programs being led by both outfits.

The visit gave both teams greater insight into the capabilities of the other’s program areas and was an excellent opportunity to explore conceptual areas of cross over and mutual interest.

CRC Mining staff were particularly interested in the work to be undertaken in CRC ORE’s Program 2: Separate, and were keen to learn more about CRC ORE’s suite of blasting technologies and sensors work – particularly the mineral recognition and downhole recognition sensor technologies.

The group discussed the importance of the role of CRC ORE’s METS participants in on-site technology deployment and looked at potential areas of alignment in how the CRC ORE’s participant collaborative network is engaged towards the ultimate goal of integrating and commercialising the technologies developed into the real-business world.

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  CRC ORE and CRC Mining technical specialists at Orica's Kurri Kurri facilities.

Blasting, sensing & leaching tech

1-2 March 2016: Orica hosted a team of CRC ORE and CRC Mining’s technical experts at their Kurri Kurri facilities in Newcastle in early March. The group actively delved into how Orica’s blasting, sensing and leaching technologies can best be used in CRC ORE’s grade engineering projects. Orica, an active METS participant in the CRC ORE consortium, brings a wealth of blasting experience to the table, and a number of opportunities were identified during the two-day workshop. These are now being further developed at participant mine sites.

Throughput calculation methodology sparks interest

11 April 2016: Additional throughput increases of up to 14% due to the application of CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering concepts and the mass simulation capabilities embedded in CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) were the focus of a presentation by CRC ORE to a comminution conference in Cape Town recently. Attendees were engaged by the lively presentation given by CRC ORE’s Process Engineer, Cristián Carrasco, who ran through the methodology for how the throughput increases were assessed.

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AustMine’s “Improving Mining and Metallurgical Recovery” Webinar

21 April 2016: The industry’s focus on more and more tonnes during the “Millennium Super Cycle” is a strategy for failure in the current climate of depressed metal prices, a recent webinar heard from CRC ORE’s Program 1 Coordinator, Scott Dunham. He says there are far more robust ways to address some of the root causes of the well-recognised problem of declining head grades.

“For every tonne increase in mill throughput, there must be a corresponding increase in mining output”, Scott said. “In both open pit and underground operations there are limited ways to increase the ore mining rate. Mine operators can increase mine capacity by purchasing more capital equipment; however, the productivity of this extra fleet may be severely constrained by practical, operational and geotechnical limitations. Consequently, many operators justify reducing cut-off grade which converts previously marginal material, or even waste, to ‘ore’ or mill feed.”

Scott’s presentation highlights the impact of lowering the cut-off grade. “Lowering the cut-off is a legitimate strategy; however, like any strategic decision the implications should be understood. In most base and precious metal mines there are fewer tonnes at very high grades compared to low grades. Therefore, when the cut-off grade is decreased, a much higher proportion of low-grade material is added to the Ore Reserve. The increase in tonnes of recoverable metal is lower than the increase in feed tonnes. The cost of crushing and grinding this additional low-grade mineralisation is a significant impost.”

Focusing on overall system impact and value-based design and operating principles is a more sustainable approach and underpins CRC ORE’s innovation agenda. Grade Engineering is a direct response to the tonnes-only focus of the Millennium Super Cycle. CRC ORE is addressing the missing technology gaps, taking advantage of both new and existing solutions to create innovative changes in the identification, quantification, development and extraction of mineral resources.

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