Mill upgrade to improve output efficiency
Grange Resources Limited owns and operates Australia’s largest integrated iron ore mining and pellet production facility and is the country’s oldest magnetite producer. Located 100km southwest of Burnie in north western Tasmania, are the company’s Savage River mine and concentrator.
Grange’s concentrator at Savage River houses two Hardinge AG mills that were originally installed in the late 1960s. By 2005, maintenance personnel noticed cracks starting to appear in their shells and cones. The mills required ongoing repairs that resulted in plant downtime and there was always the risk of a catastrophic failure.
With the mine’s operation expected to extend until at least 2034, Grange’s management team decided that in order to ensure concentrator reliability and to improve output efficiency, these mills would need to be upgraded.
“Our engineering team had done a great job of extending the mill’s 20-year design life to over 45 years. So while there is no doubt that the mill was at the end of its life, we mainly needed better reliability and efficiency,” notes Tim Dunbabin, Grange Resources’ Senior Project Engineer.
Grange Resources’ Engineering Superintendent, Wayne Peck explains further: “Starting from the pit, right through to the end of the ship loader, our customers’ requirements are our focus – ‘from mine to metal’ as we say. Reliability of supply depends on the performance of our personnel and the processing equipment they use; remaining price competitive depends on keeping our costs in check. Energy is our biggest cost, and an area where even small changes can have a big impact.”