The relationship between Ausenco and the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC) began five years ago when CEEC’s founding Board members approached a core group of key industry CEOs to support the establishment of a Resource Centre to accelerate awareness, knowledge transfer and, by implication, improve energy and cost outcomes in the substantive area of comminution.

Given Ausenco’s track record in improving comminution efficiency, and the company’s focus on delivering value and seeking ingenious solutions, Ausenco’s CEO Zimi Meka and Chief Technical Officer Greg Lane saw the strategic benefit in supporting the CEEC’s goal of improving the operating efficiency of mining sites processing low grade ores from challenging ore bodies.

Comminution, i.e. the crushing and grinding of ore, consumes up to three per cent of all electric power generated in the world and, it’s believed, could potentially account for 10 per cent of the electrical energy consumed in countries like Canada and Australia. As easily-accessible, high-grade ore bodies are exhausted, falling ore grades and rising energy costs present compelling drivers for change to the mining sector, with industry leaders recognising the increasing importance of comminution efficiency.

The CEEC has recently launched the CEEC Energy Curve program which provides an analytical service to support the establishment of best practice in mineral processing. The tool allows comminution circuit operators to benchmark the energy efficiency of their operations and to contribute anonymously to the database which currently includes over 40% of the world’s copper production in volume, 20% of global gold production plus six other ores; in total over 1.3 billion tonnes of rock throughput has been entered since its launch.

As a long-standing sponsor of and contributor to the CEEC, Ausenco has seen the not-for-profit organisation support innovation and change in the industry, and build a strong data set of “best in class” technical papers, underwriting alternative comminution strategies. Over the years of association with CEEC, Ausenco has hosted the 2013 CEEC Medal award event to a group of Canadian authors at its Vancouver offices, and contributed to the dialogue and outcomes of CEEC’s 2012 and 2014 global Workshops.

Ausenco’s expertise in the area of comminution was further demonstrated by Ausenco’s principal sponsorship of the inaugural AusIMM Comminution Handbook that was launched at the MetPlant 2015 conference in Perth. The Handbook is an essential guide for all professionals involved in comminution, metallurgy and related fields, and contains contributions from no less than five Ausenco engineers; Greg Lane, Eddie McLean, Bianca Foggiatto, Chris Morley and Marcos Bueno.

Energy efficient comminution strategies provide enormous benefits to the mining industry, with improvement in comminution presenting an opportunity for increased earnings.