Mining in Numbersㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ

Besides the lack of effective technical confrontation in face of the drop in ore contents and the controversial policy of “grind and float everything”, one of the points I have been raising concerning the current mining, is the gradual transfer of the mining companies’ profits to the market of large suppliers..

Along with the transfer of capital to the global financial system – which decapitalizes the mining sector – the drop in mineral content was mistakenly compensated by the equivalent increase in the ROM benefited, to produce the same concentrate, radically increasing operating costs and the consumption of various relevant inputs such as the grinding media.

It is illustrated below the current and expected demand for this important input of the large Copper mining in Chile (Cochilco – Comisión Minera del Cobre).

The general average consumption of grinding balls in Chilean mining is approximately 700 g/t, leading to the annual demand of the large Chilean copper mining to around 600,000 tons per year. At a price of US$1.2/kg, an annual cost of US$720 million is achieved, considering just grinding balls.

All this amount of steel, used to grind more and more gangue, is equivalent to 80 (eighty) Eiffel Tower (7,500 tons of steel was used in its construction) every year! It is also enough steel to build approximately 10,000 (ten thousand) kilometers of railway tracks (almost five round trips Santiago – Antofagasta), every year!

This nonsense happens because of the policy of placing the SAG mill practically at the beginning of the beneficiation process, instead of selectively fragmenting and pre-concentrating the ore gradually, extracting much of the gangue before entering the mills, which could operate selectively as well.

With the Selective Concentration, without SAG and withy coarser grinding, keeping the good ore liberation (selective grinding), the consumption of balls could decrease by half.

At another opportunity we will approach  the enormous saving of energy, water, and reagents, less tailing generation (environmental benefits), etc., coming out from the Selective Concentration. The Selective Concentration is the feasible way we indicate for the current mining.

Alexis Yovanovic

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