Understanding what is feeding your process: How ore variability costs money!
Too often operations utilise ore type definitions that are based on geological or mining characteristics and have little relation to the processing behaviour of the material. This is perfectly valid for resource definition and mine planning but when applied to processing can be misleading. While there are situations where the relationship is valid, for the majority of operations there do remain subtle differences in how ore domains should be processed.
Today I wanted to share some more thoughts on the usefullness of ore typing to mining and mineral processing operations. I have recently been working on a the beginnings of a geometallurgical program for an open pit operation where the whole processing chain from mining, through processing and to smelting is included. This has given me a unique opportunity to view ore typing from the perspective that although the mill is the direct customer of the mines ore types, consideration must be made for the effect that changing ore type can have on products fed to a smelter.
A greater understanding of your process by mineralogical ore characterisation
Ore characterisation is a very broad term that is viewed differently by geologists, mineralogists and metallurgists. It does however fundamentally cover the concept of defining the building blocks of an ore, giving insight into how best to deal with it.