Green Mining - Trends And Challenges

<p style="text-align: justify;">The mining industry has always been very resource intensive &ndash; large volumes of rock excavated and ground into dust require a major expenditure of energy, water, and other resources. Increased consumption of raw commodities due to global economic growth accompanied by gradual depletion of rich deposits as mining progresses to poorer quality and lower grade material pose challenges to the mining industry for a search of efficient technologies that would help to reduce energy consumption as well as enhance water conservation and overall sustainability of operations. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Among such key technological trends, the following ones could be mentioned:&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">High-pressure Comminution&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">High-pressure comminution is almost an order-of-magnitude more efficient than conventional crushing/grinding techniques (6-8% vs. 30-40%) and is becoming a widespread technology these days.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;<br />Ore Sorting&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Bulk ore sorting is becoming increasingly popular since rejecting the waste ahead of the major processing operations saves 5-20 US$ per ton of waste, with 1-1.5 US$ spent per ton for sorting. The multitude of available sensors allow us to extrapolate sorting to a wider range of commodities.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;<br />Dry Comminution and Beneficiation&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Though more complicated than wet, industry leaders are actively developing dry technologies. Reducing water consumption saves water and reduces the amount of wet tails produced by the plant, which is usually more challenging to manage.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br />Novel Mining and Processing Technologies&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Though first developed many years ago, the potential of such technologies as bioleaching or in-situ leaching still needs to be fully explored as they can substantially improve the mining industry's environmental impact and save costs.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;<br />Automation and AI&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Automation has been and will be one of the major drivers of efficiency improvements. With the development of AI-based technologies, many new game-changing plant-wide control systems became possible. Some technologies, such as smart mills or flotation control systems, are already available on the market.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Transformation of the mining industry into a green business (as far as it can be) is still ahead, though, with the available and newly developed technologies, this might happen much sooner than expected.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Vladimir Borissenko

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