The project is being carried out at a mine in Chile and one in Peru, both belonging to a foreign company with copper operations in both countries.
With the aim of determining the maximum possible recovery from these deposits, Alaya is developing analytical traceability models of the mineral from the blockgrades that leave the mine to the final leaching process -in the case of oxides- and flotation -in the case of sulphides.
“The determination of traceability contributes to the recovery of the minerals present in the mine and means having direct or calculated data in each part of the process, introducing them to analytical models capable of predicting results and at the same time optimizing them by suggesting adjustments to the variables actionable. In this way, the efficiency of the global process is improved and helps the operators to have a look at the harmony of the chain at all times”, explains Waldo Fishwick, Deputy General Manager of Alaya.
Thus, the challenge of this assignment is "to complete a traceability model as close as possible to what the client requires and to contribute all our accumulated mining experience in various solutions developed in previous projects of massive movement of materials, primary and secondary grinding, SAG grinding -being in this case an unprecedented contribution-, stockpile, traceability in the crushing and hydrocyclone processes” he indicates.
For the mining company, this is an important tool in the management of the deposits. Alaya's Deputy General Manager points out: "Traceability projects make it possible to be clear about their potential, to measure the processes and, thirdly, to ensure that the final recovery is the one that corresponds." This is because when mining waste is abundant it is because the processes used to recover the mineral were deficient.
How traceability works
At the moment the material is removed from the mine, the blockgrade allows us to know its mineral content bucket by bucket, truck by truck, but traceability is lost in the following stages. For example, when entering the stockpile, where the material accumulates in conical silos, the information is lost and although the mineralogy is measured at the exit, there is no correspondence from the input bucket to the output bucket: "There we have to make models of FIFO determination -First In First Out according to the acronym in English-, to be able to determine the stacking logic in terms of input flow, so that the output flow is known”.
For each of the stages of the process, models must be built that assume that certain KPIs are obtained and that alert when those KPIs are outside or within what is allowed as a process.
Time of development
In total, the project will take four months for each of the tasks. Alaya is working with agile methodology and 8 sprints have been established during the process. At the time of publication of this note, the third sprint has already been reached, so it is expected that it will be finished and operating in two months.