The Evolution of Process Control in the Mining Industry

CIM Bulletin, 1971

G. M. BEHREND, Instrument Department Supervisor, Canadian Bechtel Limited, Montreal, Quebec

The mining and processing of mineral ores is a very old industry which is steeped in tradition. Rising demand for metals has recently forced the exploitation of lowergrade orebodies which require extensive beneficiation. The high capital expenditures involved, together with market pressures for high-quality concentrates and pellets, have forced the development of new process technologies which are heavily dependent on automatic process control. Development of suitable instrumentation has been rapid and it is being applied to mining processes today with a high degree of sophistication. The drive for higher efficiency and profitability goes on and has reached a level at which modern digital computers appears to be the only answer. However, the efficient application of a digital process computer is extremely complicated and is therefore approached by the mining industry with considerable hesitation. Some of the benefits promised by the digital computer can be obtained today by other means, which are more manageable and can provide immediate payoff. The result would be a building-block system which would utilize the digital process computer as its final component, to perform true plant optimization, free from routine chores.
Keywords: Computers, Control, Controls, Data, data logging, digital computer, filter cake, plant, process control, optimization, Plants, Process, Processes