Geometallurgy - A Route to More Resilient Mine Operations
Dominy, SC and O'Connor, L and Parbhakar-Fox, A and Glass, HJ and Purevgerel, S, Geometallurgy - A Route to More Resilient Mine Operations, Minerals, 8, (12) Article 560. ISSN 2075-163X (2018) [Refereed Article]
Geometallurgy is an important addition to any evaluation project or mining operation. As an integrated approach, it establishes 3D models which enable the optimisation of net present value and effective orebody management, while minimising technical and operational risk to ultimately provide more resilient operations. Critically, through spatial identification of variability, it allows the development of strategies to mitigate the risks related to variability (e.g., collect additional data, revise the mine plan, adapt or change the process strategy, or engineer flexibility into the system). Geometallurgy promotes sustainable development when all stages of extraction are performed in an optimal manner from a technical, environmental, and social perspective. To achieve these goals, development of innovative technologies and approaches along the entire mine value chain are being established. Geometallurgy has been shown to intensify collaboration among operational stakeholders, creating an environment for sharing orebody knowledge and improving data acquisition and interpretation, leading to the integration of such data and knowledge into mine planning and scheduling. These aspects create better business optimisation and utilisation of staff, and lead to operations that are more resilient to both technical and non-technical variability. Geometallurgy encompasses activities that utilise improved understanding of the properties of ore and waste, which impact positively or negatively on the value of the product, concentrate, or metal. Properties not only include those that impact on processing efficiency, but also those of materials which will impact on other actions such as blasting and waste management. Companies that embrace the geometallurgical approach will benefit from increased net present value and shareholder value.