layout of mine and mineral processing plant
mineral processing plant history
Once upon a time… that’s the typical beginning of a traditional fairy tale. And like the old fairy tales, once upon a time building a mineral processing plant was a very different enterprise than it is today. The owner of a property could go out and find a technically competent engineering company, explain what he wanted, wander away and in a few years find himself with a plant. That plant was built pretty much like all the others of its type and produced a product to be sold on the market. It wasn’t really important how many people it took to run it, how much energy it took, how much cheap and available water it used, how its waste was disposed of, all within some broad limits, of course.
how to design a mineral processing plant
Nowadays all of that has changed; not just some, all of it. Equipment, construction, labor, energy, water, consumables, fuel, every single thing that affects a mineral processing plant from design to operation, from rock to finished product, has risen dramatically in cost. Coupled with that are the restrictions imposed by governments at all levels, special interest groups and the industry itself, covering such things as health and safety, the environment, the local community and product quality.
The essential result of the design of a mineral processing plant is a facility that meets the specified production levels, operates at a competitive cost, complies with today’s environmental and other regulations, and, more importantly, can be built within budget. These same criteria apply to all types of industrial plants of today, but for the purposes of this exercise we’ll just speak of conventional mineral processing plants. You probably know the type; crushing, grinding, flotation and some way of handling the final product, not to mention a few minor ancillary facilities.
Normally, three main stages in designing a mineral processing plant are followed in sequence: process design, equipment selection, and plant layout. However, given the tight schedules we have to work within today, these stages are more often done nearly in parallel. Production requirements and metallurgical design parameters are the main factors that regulate the first two stages, while the demands of the project schedule and a host of other factors govern the third.
Plant layout is often considered to be a compromise between various factors that include the need to keep distances for transfer of materials between plant/storage units to a minimum to reduce costs and risks, the geographical limitations of the site, interaction with existing or planned facilities on site such as existing roadways, drainage and utilities.