Indicative CO2 emissions savings of approximately 20,000 tonnes per year.
The Red Chris copper/gold mine is located in northwest British Columbia and has been operating since 2012. A 70% stake in it was recently acquired by the Australian gold mining giant, Newcrest Mining.
2019 metals production at Red Chris was 71.9 million pounds copper, 36,471 ounces gold, and 133,879 ounces silver.
The comminution circuit has a conventional SABC configuration comprising a single SAG mill fed by a primary crusher and followed by a single ball mill. Ore is processed at the rate of 30,000 tpd. The SAG and ball mill circuits are responsible for 59% of mine-wide electrical energy consumption, equating to 195 GWh of annual electricity consumption.
In 2018/2019 the mine commenced energy studies of the comminution circuit to identify opportunities for energy conservation and improving production performance.
These studies included surveys to collect key data to enable the Morrell method to be used to assess energy utilization efficiency and identify potential energy savings. Survey data were also used to calibrate JKSimMet comminution simulation models to explore different operating scenarios and pinpoint where energy efficiency improvements could be made. The SMC Test results on Red Chris ore were used as the ore hardness characterisation inputs to both the Morrell method and simulation models – a unique feature of the SMC Test.
Analysis using the Morrell method indicated that there was a potential energy saving of 10% in the comminution circuit or approximately 20 GWh of electricity per year. This is equivalent to a potential annual saving in CO2 emissions of approximately 20,000 tonnes*. This magnitude of energy saving was backed up by further power-based analyses of the ball mill circuit combined with simulations which identified a reduction in ball make up size as being able to improve energy efficiency significantly.
*based on electricity generated in a coal fired power station