This year CMP was somewhat subdued with numbers reported to be down from their all-time highs a few years ago. There was a strong contingent of suppliers with a diminishing number of mine site-based attendees. That being said, the papers presented were of a very high quality, with the peer review process of the CMP organisation ensuring the papers do not revert to straight advertising style propaganda.
There was a strong level of papers relating to the commissioning and post commissioning ramp up phase of several of the new mines to be constructed in recent years. One paper was presented by Christopher O’Hara on the ramp up phase of New Gold’s, New Afton Mine in BC. This is a new Block Cave copper/gold mine which has come on line on cost and time and is producing at design tonnage. Rod Tyreman, Mill Superintendent, says the process plant and the mine are working very well. This is very refreshing after some of the other stories about time and cost overruns on some of the more recent new projects.
Joe Pease opened the first session with a very good plenary presentation on efficiency in mining, highlighting the work of CEEC in the area of energy efficiency in comminution and discussing the need to first understand the issues and then work with what we have to get efficiencies up. Then, at the same time, look to the future and the possibilities of new technologies and how they could be integrated into both greenfields and brownfields operations. A key focus of the presentation was on the different work options in the pit, enabling more selective mining and therefore better feed to the comminution circuit.
Other good papers included one on Vertimill optimisation and another on predicting HPGR performance with a laboratory procedure based on a piston press test.
There is an undercurrent of quiet optimism as the gold price is slowly rising in reverse to the outside temperature, which dropped to about -15 C in the background of the conference. A double boost for the miners is a low CAD/AUD $ exchange rate and very low energy prices which are giving a glimmer of new hope across the board in the sector. This has not dampened the enthusiasm of the attendees as they all took off in buses to “beat the crap out of each other” on the ice hockey field. They are contending the Kilbourne Cup, which is I am told, is a hard fought battle.
Former Gekko employee, Tad Crowie, is the CMP Chair this year and did a great job of pulling the whole show together. Gekko was represented by myself, Peter Latta, Ben Adaszynski and Randy Agius attending. Randy Agius presented a paper on Detox to the gold processing short course on Monday, which was well received.