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Mining research partnership grinds out success

25 October, 2011

Metso, a global supplier of sustainable technology and services for the mining sector, is looking to improve its grinding solutions with the help of the University of Queensland.

Metso and the University of Queensland have finalised a three-year agreement encompassing joint research and performance evaluations of the VERTIMILL Grinding Mill developed by Metso.

The project supports Metso's goal of improving the effectiveness of its grinding solutions. The agreement is part of a longstanding relationship between Metso and the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, known as the JKMRC, at the university's Sustainable Minerals Institute.

The project provides the JKMRC with the opportunity to enhance its already significant knowledge base in stirred milling while providing direct value to Metso and its technologies.

According to JKMRC's Director, Professor Geoff Gault, Metso has been a strong supporter of research at the JKMRC, mainly through Metso's Brisbane-based Process Technology and Innovation business unit.

"This project cements a strategic partnership that provides a platform for future cooperation for the benefit of both Metso and the JKMRC," Gault said.

The joint research project has a solid basis to build on. In the project, Metso and JKMRC will cooperate by sharing their expertise and methodology, and by further validating field performance in terms of energy efficiency, not only in fine grinding applications but specifically in coarse grinding applications.

Metso has a rich laboratory history and has invested in, for instance, developing procedures for mill selection. As the application range of the VERTIMILL Grinding Mill expands, this independent research can help to find better ways of operating, and validate the methodology.

According to Kenneth Brame, Senior Vice President, Comminution, Mining and Construction Technology at Metso, the importance of such collaboration is essential for continued success in the mining arena.

"In order to maintain and increase customer success, we must develop new technologies and procedures that will address customer needs. This process requires a broad mix of competencies and dedicated resources, so university collaboration is essential to quickly gain and sustain momentum," Braeme said.

Professor Malcolm Powell, JKMRC's Professorial Chair in Sustainable Comminution, said the JKMRC endeavours to cover the entire comminution and classification process chain in mineral processing.

"We provide complete modelling and simulation capability, delivered via the JKSimMet processing plant simulator," Powell explained.

"Fine grinding is playing a growing role in the beneficiation of finely disseminated minerals, so the JKMRC is actively improving its modelling capability in this area."

Metso has activities in the mining, construction, power generation, automation, recycling and the pulp and paper industries, employing approximately 29,000 people in more than 50 countries.

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