Eco-Efficient Comminution in Mining Industry

Mining industry has been the cornerstone of human civilization and is directly and indirectly accounted for up to 45% of the global economy. The industry is an energy intensive one which directly consumes 6-7% of total world energy, from which almost half goes for comminution. Furthermore, it is estimated that mining is responsible for consuming 6-8 Bm3 of fresh water. Accordingly, the industry faces different challenges including improving process and resource efficiency, access to energy and water, as well as environmental issues regarding carbon footprint as well as water and land contaminations and social license to operate. Therefore, it is highly appreciated to invent and develop machineries and processes that help overcoming the challenges.

Since considerable amount of energy is consumed in comminution and the energy per ton of product increases as deeper and more competent reserves are brought into operations with related environmental, economic and political aspects, there is a serious need to design and operate the future commination plants eco-efficiently. Moving towards “Green Economy” requires optimal usage of resources, including raw materials, energy and water.

One way for Sandvik to address the challenges is by participating in a research program funded by the European institute of technology and Innovation together with Boliden, Eramet, Geological Survey of Finland, Northland Oretech and Loeche as co-partners. Furthermore, there are additional international collaborators/partners that also contribute to the development and proof of concept of eco-efficient dry comminution processes with the objective to present the feasibility of a dry eco-efficient comminution process to serve the mining industry worldwide.