Integrated mining and processing strategies reduce costs and maximize profit at iron ore operations

Author(s): W. Valery, K. Duffy, P. Holtham, A. Jankovic, S. Vianna, E. Tabosa, R. Hayashida
Brazilian Metallurgy, Materials and Mining Association (ABM) Week 2019 Conference in São Paulo, Brazil - October 1-3, 2019.

Hatch‘s Mine to Process Optimization projects integrate mining and processing strategies, minimizing operating costs and maximizing overall profit. Tlhe methodology involves ore characterization, blast audits, plant surveys, analysis of historical data, and integrated modelling and simulation of mining and processing. Blast designs are tailored according to ore type and the downstream process is optimized for the changed feed. This approach has increased throughput and minimized costs for many operations worldwide. The implementation of this methodology at an iron ore operation that faced challenges with increasing mining strip ratio and ore body mineralogy changes is presented in this paper. The larger stripping ratio increased mining costs and constrained the run-of—mine (ROM) delivery to the process plant. Process performance was affected as the ore mineralogy shifted from predominantly hematite to include greater proportions of magnetite. The project objective was to minimize overall cost per ton mined and processed and maximize profit. Tailoring the blast designs according to ore type and process optimization increased the throughput of all process lines. This provided the potential to shut down one of the five processing line, aligning the mine and plant capacity and significantly reducing the processing costs. Keywords: Mine-to-Mill; Integrated strategies; Iron ore.