Role of pre-crusher stockpiling for grade control in iron ore mining

K.F. Jupp, T.J. Howard, Jim Everett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Pre-crusher stockpiles are designed principally as buffers to decouple the mining and processing operations. They are usually paddock dumped or dumped over a face to form fingers by dumping haul truckloads and reclaimed by front-end loader in an ad hoc manner. In addition, they are often not built and reclaimed to completion but continually added to and extracted from. Whereas this design suits the mining process and is operationally simple, there can be little confidence in the grade of the ore that is fed to the crusher. This makes short-term grade control difficult and reconciliation back to the mine face imprecise. Well-designed and operated pre-crusher stockpiles can overcome these deficiencies. The different types of grade variability in mining are reviewed. The role of pre-crusher stockpiles in reducing short-term variability is discussed and their ineffectiveness in addressing long-term variability is highlighted. Their role in removing the serial correlation of the extracted ore is explained. Pre-crusher stockpiles carry out the four, at times competing, objectives of storing, buffering, blending and grade separation. Their actual design and operation result from a compromise between these four competing roles. These roles are explained in detail along with the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of precrusher stockpiles. The recommended blended-in blended-out stockpile (BIBO) design is discussed in detail. Matched pairs of BIBO stockpiles of limited tonnage built and reclaimed to completion retain the best knowledge of grade and facilitate the reconciliation process. Simulation studies have been carried out on BIBO stockpiles to understand the blending opportunities of the different options for building and reclaiming, and to identify the methods that achieve maximum blending. It was found that laying down rows in one direction and reclaiming across these rows gives the best blending. Matching the width of the reclaim face with the daily crushing requirements is also important. The length of the rows, and building in either one or two layers has little effect on the extent of blending. Appropriate design can provide a reasonable compromise between the four objectives. © Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and The AusIMM 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-255
JournalTransactions of the Institutions of Mining and Metallurgy, Section B: Applied Earth Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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