PanAust Will Boost Pit, Mill Output at Phu Kham Operations
Commissioning of the Phu Kham upgrade is timed to coincide with a scheduled decline in ore head grade. Mill capacity will be augmented by a second 13-MW ball mill, similar to the existing ball mill. The extra milling capacity is expected to allow the nominal grind size to reduce from 106 microns to 75 microns, improving liberation and adding about one percentage point to copper recovery. No improvement in precious metal recovery is assumed; however, finer grinding should also liberate more gold and silver.
Flotation capacity will be expanded by about 50%, providing for increased flotation residence time and adding another percentage point to copper recovery. Combined, the increased grinding capability and flotation capacity are expected to support copper recoveries in the range of 74%–82% over a mine life of more than 10 years.
Additional mining equipment will be required to deliver the increased mine tonnage at Phu Kham. Studies are currently in progress to determine optimal mining fleet configuration and leasing arrangements.