Automating Sag Mill Speed Control at Gibraltar Mine

Additonal authors: McClure, Ken. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Day, Alex

Located North of Williams Lake British Columbia, Gibraltar Mine is the fourth largest open pit Copper mine in North America. Gibraltar commenced Copper concentrate production in 1972 with a mill throughput rate of 30,000 tons per day. A series of expansion projects, including installation of a second SAG mill with variable speed drives in 2013, has increased mill throughput to 85,000 tons per day. Over the past 24 months, Gibraltar Mine in partnership with Spartan Controls has executed several advanced process control programming projects culminating in the implementation of a Continuous Speed Controller (CSC) for the most recently installed SAG mill. This paper covers development and results for the SAG mill speed controller. INTRODUCTION In January 2016, the price of Copper fell below $2.00 USD per pound, the lowest price in 7 years. Gibraltar Mine faced a significant challenge; how to maximize profit in an environment where capital spending was not an option. An opportunity was quickly identified to improve performance through increased automation and advanced control of the grinding processes. Beginning in March 2016, Gibraltar Mine partnered with Spartan Controls to introduce Advanced Process Control (APC) to the grinding circuits. The collaboration between metallurgical and process control engineering disciplines proved to be effective for achieving gains in throughput, reliability and productivity for the mill process. The Gibraltar milling facilities include 2 grinding-flotation plants for concentration of chalcopyrite ore with throughput rates of 58,000 tons per day (Concentrator 1) and 38,000 tons per day (Concentrator 2). Each of the two concentrators has a 34’ diameter SAG mill powered by 2 GE 4800 kW synchronous electric motors. For SAG 1 (in concentrator 1), power is transmitted through 2 Eaton Airflex clutches. For SAG 2 (in concentrator 2), the motors are driven by 2 TMEIC Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). All programming is done using DeltaV, which Gibraltar uses as its Distributed Control System (DCS) and Human Machine Interface (HMI).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019