Towards the Invisible Mine – Underground Pre-concentration

CIM Vancouver 2006
Andrew Bamber, Bern Klein, Malcolm Scoble,
Abstract UBC has been involved in strategic research in Mine-Mill Integration and underground pre-concentration since 2000. This has comprised fundamental research, field work, laboratory testwork, engineering evaluations and computational analysis. Several case studies have been undertaken for companies such as INCO, Falconbridge and Placer Dome, and work is ongoing in the field. The opportunities that motivated these each study differed and included lowering operating costs, increasing metal production rates, lowering cutoff grades, decreasing haulage costs and reducing environmental impact.
A systems approach was used to design the integrated mining, processing and material handling system. An important component of the research has been the identification of enabling technologies which include sorting technologies, dense media separation, vertical conveying, hydraulic hoisting as well as rocky paste-fill technologies for the disposal of the waste rejects underground. Several aspects of the research to date are reviewed, including basic amenability evaluations on a range of ores, system design, excavation design and backfill. Several conclusions are made as to the outlook for the technology thus far, applications in underground mining and future research directions.
Keywords: mine-mill integration, Ore sorting, underground preconcentration
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