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ArticleName Designs of new operating copper processing plants: process types, equipment selection, industry trends
DOI 10.17580/or.2021.01.08
ArticleAuthor Baranov V. F.

«Mekhanobr Engineering» JSC (Saint-Petersburg, Russia):

Baranov V. F., Head of Department, Doctor of Engineering Sciences,


The article describes the largest operating processing plants for lowgrade copper sulphide ores of our time: 10 plants using the semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) technology and 10 plants using high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR), with the output of 18 to 100 Mtpa. The unfavorable natural and economic factors are balanced by improved ore preparation and concentration technologies and high-capacity equipment units, combined with cost-saving layout solutions. The ore preparation sector is currently divided between the competing technologies of semi-autogenous grinding and HPGR. The article contains an overview of their advantages and disadvantages. The world’s largest monosection with the capacity of 55.5 Mtpa, that uses the SAG technology, is described. The role of the Drop Weght Test JKSimMet (A×b) parameter in the selection of the ore preparation method and the trend for using HPGR in the processing of strong ores are shown. Examples are provided for the consequences of an inadequate assessment of the feed strength in SAG-based plant designs. Examples of ore preparation process intensification through the use of HPGR in semi-autogenous grinding circuits are also given. The volume of impeller flotation cells installed has reached 600 m3. An overview of the two largest processing plants of our time with the output of 88 and 100 Mtpa of ore is presented. The innovative technical solutions of a newest low-capacity copper plant are highlighted. Based on the results of the overview, a future processing plant is predicted to use ∅12.8–13 m SAG mills, HPGRs with the roll diameter of 3 m, vertical VTM-7000 mills in ore grinding cycles, large fine screens, large-scale impeller flotation cells, and staged SFR and DFR flotation reactors.

keywords Copper ores, ore preparation, semi-autogenous grinding, pre-crushing, pebble crushers, HPGR, layout, monosection, large-scale flotation cells

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