Queen's Drill to Mill

CIM Vancouver 2006
Takis Katsabanis, Charles Pelley, Shadan Kelebek,
Abstract Years of depressed market prices have forged a culture of cost minimization and marginal optimizations. Mine to Mill, Integrated Planning, Strategic Planning were successful strategies developed for improving the mining business integrating mining and mineral process under low market prices and for on-going operations. However, recent market behavior has pushed for expansions, new projects and for changes in actual economic goals questioning the applicability of optimization techniques under this new scenario.

Nevertheless, expansions and new projects require years of study where several expansion alternatives are analyzed and followed by an even longer construction period missing the opportunity window generated by high prices pushing for quick actions to maximize the company’s Net Present Value.

The interaction between blasting and comminution generates areas where such actions could be applied. Drilling and Blasting comparatively are the lowest cost operations in an open pit mine reducing particle size by crushing and grinding. Better yet, compared with crushing and grinding, blasting is an almost free investment alternative not requiring preproduction periods.

Queen’s Drill to Mill project has developed an improved planning strategy integrating blasting parameters with opportunity cost techniques for maximizing net present value in new projects and expansions. This strategy optimizes simultaneously, production rate, blasting and conminution parameters providing optimal level of production and estimating the optimal level and use of investments. This strategy was applied for a new project of 200 Kton/day and an existing operation undergoing optimization.

For the new project, improvements of 25% in NPV are possible while for on going operation, facing higher prices, the net present value increased by 12.7% without additional investment in the mineral processing area.
Keywords: new projects, Blasting, Mineral Processing, Mining Planning, Mine to mill
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Vancouver 2006