Tackling comminution, the largest energy consumer

In all of the mining, milling, smelting and refining processes, comminution is by far the ‎largest energy consumer. It is estimated to consume 3 per cent of all electric power generated in the world, which translates into high costs and greenhouse gas production.

What is comminution?

When the valuable minerals and metals are removed ‎from the earth through mining, they are locked within larger pieces of virgin rock, and must be liberated through processes of size reduction such as crushing and grinding. The size reduction process is known as comminution. Improved methods for mineral comminution are continually being sought. The goal is to achieve the required size reduction and mineral liberation with less energy than the conventional technology will allow.

By investing in research‎ on improved technologies and best practices, energy consumption in comminution could be significantly reduced.

Future research and development at CanmetMINING will focus on:

  • reducing the amount of virgin (waste) rock sent into the milling process through improved underground extraction technologies;
  • finding more efficient comminution technologies such as sensors and liners for the mill; and
  • eliminating and recovering wasted energy within the size reduction processes.