Once mined, ore often needs to be crushed and broken into fine particles so the minerals can be extracted. This process of crushing and breaking down ore—comminution—typically requires more energy than any other part of a mine.
On average, ~5% of a mine’s total operational expense comes from the energy required in the comminution process. The Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution estimates that comminution consumes 3% of the world’s energy production.
Newmont Goldcorp is a leading investor in comminution technology developments, continuously evaluating grinding circuit performance across their global operations. This allows for continuous improvement of operating facilities and practical insights for new plant designs. It has also resulted in a performance-based dataset useful for comparing circuit efficiency.
This paper leverages the Newmont Goldcorp data to review various methods for assessing comminution circuit efficiency, including:
- Size specific energy (SSE).
It shows that the SSE method generates a relative efficiency measure that allows equipment performance to be assessed in isolation, whereas the Bond approach is better suited to overall circuit analysis.
The combination of all three methods allows a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of each comminution circuit, highlighting improvement opportunities, and providing a baseline from which the potential of new technologies can be measured.