Advanced Control Technology for Mining for Improved Benefits, Support, and Sustainability

APCOM 2009
Abstract Mining companies can improve production and reduce cost by using the best available technology to control their operations. Many mines are challenged to use advanced control solutions due to limited experience or staffing, as well as being concerned over the robustness and sustainability of advanced controls. As a result many mines are not realizing optimal performance from their assets, and are not realizing 2-3% production increases or cost reductions of 2-5% that these technologies can deliver. Over the past few years, the application of multivariable model-based predictive control has gained acceptance in many mining processes and has proven to be robust and sustainable for some of the most challenging mining processes. New automated modeling and performance monitoring software have greatly simplified the effort to implement and maintain these solutions. Unlike alternative advanced control technologies (expert systems), multivariable predictive control enables remote support from a large pool of remote vendor or customer resources. In addition, many progressive companies have chosen to co-source the implementation and service of these solutions to assure project success and continued benefits stream. This technology has been successfully applied to a wide variety of processes; grinding mills, alumina digestion, CCD/thickeners, kilns/calciners/roasters, flash smelters, heat exchangers/evaporators, and most recently in the demanding process of flotation.

This paper discusses the state-of-the art in advance control technologies in the mining industry, including the impact of these technologies on; maximizing benefits, implementing best practices for long term sustainability. Results from a recent application in copper mining will be discussed, as well as implementation of remote support organization and facilities.
Keywords: Multivariable, Mining, Flotation, expert rules, Expert system, Grinding, predictive, model-based, honeywell, advanced control
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from APCOM 2009