iMin Solutions conducted a sample preparation training workshop and review of operational mineralogy procedures in early April at Kansanshi, First Quantum Minerals’ flagship operation in north-western Zambia.
Kansanshi is a large-scale copper and gold mine capable of producing 340,000 tonnes of copper and more than 120,000 oz of gold from a 30 Mtpa throughput. As part of routine QA/QC support, the visit follows approximately 18 months of successful operational mineralogy conducted on-site.
The ZEISS MinSCAN ruggedized SEM, equipped with Mineralogic Mining automated mineralogy software, enables the team to generate routine mineralogical data for integration into operational decision-making, as well as carrying out project work for other departments. Supported by an on-site sample preparation laboratory, high throughput and rapid turnaround enable the team to monitor the multi-stream process required to treat the various ore types. The facility comprises separate sulphide, oxide and mixed floatation circuits, as well as a hydrometallurgy circuit, with both smelting and electro-winning plants also present.
Since setting up the iMin Solutions package at the site we have seen some significant benefits:
- Generated ten different process optimisations.
- Proven revenue improvement of US$1.5M per month as a result of increased recovery of fine chalcopyrite (270 tonnes Cu per month).
- Pilot programs are currently underway to drive a 5% improvement in Cu recovery, equivalent to US$85M per annum of increased revenue (17,000 tonnes Cu per annum).
This has resulted in a mind set change whereby Cu mineralogy is driving plant performance rather than chemical assays – and it only took one month after commissioning for the operation to pay back on the set-up investment.