Demand for raw materials is increasing exponentially. To satisfy that demand, more minerals need to be mined from the Earth’s crust. As a result, minerals are being exhausted, and ore grades decline. Lower ore grade mines also mean more energy, which in turn entails fossil fuel emissions and more climate change. This paper estimates the specific energy for the beneficiation process of metals lead and zinc as case studies. The evaluation is performed with specialized software, HSC Chemistry which assesses the specific energy for every stage: comminution, flotation, and refining. Different scenarios have been established to simulate the behavior of a mine when it approaches depletion. Preliminary results show that energy consumption for lead would increase by 5 times when compared to the current situation if ore grades decrease until the level of tailings, while for zinc by almost 2.
Magdalena, Ricardo; Valero, Alicia; Palacios, Jose-Luis; and Valero, Antonio
"Mining energy consumption as a function of ore grade decline: the case of lead and zinc,"
Journal of Sustainable Mining: Vol. 20
, Article 5.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.46873/2300-3960.1060
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