In most mineral processing operations the term "audit" is usually reserved for the exercise of checking financial records and/or safety practices. While these activities are time-consuming, no one disputes their necessity or value. If these areas are subjected to such careful scrutiny, why is it that the same principles are not normally applied to critically examine process operation. After all, the operating efficiency of the plant impacts directly on the measures of profitability.
A mineral processing plant is a complex system that has a number of distinct, but mutually dependent elements: process equipment, instrumentation, operating policies, maintenance policies, control strategies and people. To ensure maximum economic performance in the dynamic environment that characterizes a concentrator, requires aperiodic review of each of these areas. However, to be useful, the study must be based on sound metallurgical principles and be conducted in a highly focussed manner. Experience has shown that the exercise is very revealing and rewarding.
This paper will discuss the plant audit process and illustrate its potential value through examples taken from plant studies.
Mineral processing, Plant audit.