Control optimization for a SAG mill at the Raglan Mine

The Raglan Mine operates several nickel mines north of the 60th parallel, in Northern Québec and Nunavik. Given their remote locations, these mines must be self-sustaining and stable to maximize operational profitability. In 2012, Raglan Mine encountered instability issues with one of its semi-autogenous shredders because of variations in ore composition. Unfortunately, this instability led to a drop in productivity, equipment breakage, premature wear of mill cladding, increased energy costs and, finally, a marked reduction in the volume of processed ore.

Client: Glencore (previously Xstrata Nickel)
Location: Katinniq

OUR EXPERTS’ SOLUTIONS

As part of this daring mandate, BBA innovated and created an intelligent control system with fuzzy logic, an approach that is rarely used with programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Made up of metallurgists, advanced control experts, programmers, technicians and automation engineers, the BBA team proposed using fuzzy logic to stabilize SAG mill behaviour for the nickel mine. It’s a technique used in artificial intelligence that requires finesse, know-how and exhaustive analyses. A follow-up performed a year later showed that the mill had excellent stability. BBA’s technological solution is now a model for the future in the field of advanced control.

  • Innovative multidisciplinary approach

  • Application of fuzzy logic for PLCs

  • Improvement of SAG mill performance

  • Production stability

IN THE WORDS OF OUR CLIENT…

“This innovative project completely redefined how to optimize a system like the one we operate at the Raglan Mine. BBA surprised us by applying fuzzy logic to control our SAG mill. The results exceeded our expectations.”

Pierre Barrette, Surface Operations and Maintenance Manager, Xstrata Nickel Mine Raglan

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