Posted on 4 February 2016
For a number of years Millennium Minerals in the Paraiba State of Brazil operated a dry mining - multi face heavy minerals (titanium oxides and zircon) mining operation successfully. The focus was on selective mining high grade areas of the deposit at relative low capacities. Depletion of these high grade parts, forced to other ways of feasible operation in the lower grade areas. After ample feasibility studies Millennium agreed to the concept that bulk mining by dredging is the most economic method. This method is applied elsewhere in the world. It was new for Brazil and this company to arrange for an artificial lake and floating processing plant.
Millennium selected after ample engineering studies an IHC wheel dredge. That type of mining equipment is not standard, but developed as a part of a floating process plant approach. In 2002 the IHC dredge was supplied with an initial capacity of 1500 t/hr. At this moment the dredge is producing 1650 t/hr with an operational efficiency of 92%. This paper will describe the operational particulars when changing from a dry to a wet mining operation and how equipment selection was effected. It will furthermore detail on this successful wet mining operation, evaluating typical operational aspects.