Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Mining Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Mineralogist Expert, Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine; Iran

3 Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran


Geometallurgy has become an important tool to predict the processing behaviour of ores, and to decrease the production risks associated with the variable nature of economic mineral deposits. Understanding the ore variability and subsequently the response of the ore to processing are considered to be the most important functions of an accurate geometallurgical study. In this paper geometallurgical indices for grinding properties of a copper ore are investigated. Geometallurgical index (GI) is described as any geological feature which makes a footprint on the processing performance of the ores. A comprehensive study at Sarcheshmeh porphyry copper mine was undertaken. This included the process responses of the ore such as grade, recovery and plant throughput as possible geometallurgical indices. In this paper the effects of rock breakage variability on the plant throughput and energy consumption are presented. Ninety samples were collected based on geological features including lithology, hydrothermal alteration, and geological structures. The samples were characterized using X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, electron and optical microscopy. A small scale simulated test method for Bond ball mill work index (BWI) was used to perform the comminution examinations. The results showed that BWI values vary from 5.67 kWh/t to 20.21 kWh/t. Examination of the possible correlations between BWI and the geological features showed that the key geological feature related to comminution variability is lithology. In addition, the hydrothermal alteration would be an effective parameter in the period that the plant is fed with a single lithology.