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Glencore has brought a new ball mill online at the Mount Isa Mines copper concentrator in a move to improve flotation performance.

A third ball mill complete with a 3500 horse power-motor now sits between the SAG milling and flotation sections at the concentrator.

It will deliver finer ground ore to increase metal recovery and improve the quality of copper concentrate supplied to the Mount Isa copper smelter, Glencore says.

Installation was largely completed in June and the mill has been in operation since the start of July this year.

Commissioning is underway and quality assurance checks are ongoing to ensure the mill performs as intended.

Superintendent strategic projects processing operations Jaap Verhoek said the new mill install was delivered concurrently with two other flotation projects.

The success of all three projects could be credited to being managed in-house, allowing the business to redeploy resources, when necessary, and maintain a continuous workflow, Mr Verhoek said.

Incremental throughput projects at the Mount Isa concentrator in recent years have allowed a greater volume of material to be processed in a 24-hour period.

The downside to this was that the grind size of material sent to the flotation plant increased, leading to lower recovery levels of copper bearing mineral within the ore.

By intensifying the amount of grinding power within the circuit, a finer grind size (similar to the width of a human hair) has been achieved to maintain the same throughput volumes, while preserving copper recovery.



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The ball mill installation nearing completion.