Preliminary sizing and selection of an HPGR using piston-die press tests
Current industry practice for HPGR assessment and sizing relies on conducting a series of tests using pilot-scale machines with roll diameters of 700 mm to 1000 mm. Substantial amounts of sample are required for such pilot test programs, typically 1 to 10 tonnes of the sample is needed depending on the level of study and complexity of the resource. Collection of large quantities of representative samples during the early stage development is challenging and expensive, thus significantly hinders the HPGR technology from being incorporated into early-stage designs. A robust and reliable laboratory test is therefore needed to allow a fair consideration of HPGR for early stage projects.
With support from the Canadian Mineral Industry Research Organization (CAMIRO), the NBK Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) developed a suite of Piston Press bench-scale tests that correlated to pilot and full scale HPGR operating information (Davaanyam, 2015; Davaanyam et al, 2015; McClintock, 2018). The Piston Press Tests (PPTs) are capable of assessing the HPGR technology at the scoping, pre-economic analysis (PEA), and pre-feasibility (PFS) stages of project development.
This paper will briefly describe the theory on which the PPTs are based, and then presents a case study conducted for a copper deposit to show how the PPTs are being used for scoping and pre-feasibility level studies. Specifically, the PPTs are being used to provide information for preliminary sizing and selection of an HPGR and to assess the effect of ore variability on HPGR performance. The results are also applied to developing HPGR circuit designs and can be incorporated in simulation so that optimum design parameters can be selected.