Rodrigo is a Senior Metallurgical Engineer and his main duties are to develop strategic and operational leadership of SGS MPS and Engineering services by providing process engineering, process plant audit, metallurgical accounting, plant optimization, trade-off studies, process plant debottlenecking and project management to clients in the mining and mineral processing industry.
Rodrigo has more than 36 years of experience in research & development of metallurgical processes, process plant design, plant construction, plant operations and project management in USA, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, China, Mongolia and Philippines. Rodrigo has a number of published papers and articles.
Optimization of plants operations can considerably increase the profits of the mining company and the payback time is commonly weeks or months. Any improvement in the final product recovery or quality, with minimum capital outlay, results in additional revenue that directly increases profit of the mineral operations. Optimization of the process of minerals process plants will frequently result in reduced operating costs in processing plants.
Some mineral processing plants are forced to produce concentrates with undesirable impurities to counteract low metal recoveries. This practice reduces the value of the final products and can in extreme result in outright rejection by a smelter.
The most common causes of operating problems such as high operating costs, low metal recoveries, high reagents consumption and plant throughput below design capacity are:
• Erroneous mining plant during the project feasibility study
• Ore changes and variability in composition or hardness
• Improper design criteria of the mineral processing plant
• Improper design of the process plant flowsheet
• Inefficient reagent scheme
• Malfunctioning of one or more unit operations
• Omitting specific equipment from flowsheet during the plant design
The experience gained over plus 35 years in plant operations, metallurgical R&D and plant design had helped to develop three step methods to evaluate the plant performance and to improve results. It is a systematic approach to problem solving in an operating plant and therefore. The author will provide details of the three step methods and case of studies.