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Does simulation deliver all that it promises, asks METS

Mineral Engineering Technical Services (METS) believes simulation is a powerful tool for predicting outcomes of process plant operations and can answer the “what happens if” scenarios, model process plant behaviour, de-bottleneck flowsheets and optimise stockpile sizes. However, how do the promises match reality and how accurate are the predictions?

In a media statement, METS states that even though the simulation might not get it exactly right the outcome gives a far better prediction of a complex problem than otherwise would be the case. It is very good at ranking options so that less favourable options are discarded very quickly. In this regard there are no better choices.

The cost of the software is relatively high compared to everyday products in use and even more challenging is the cost of training personnel to become competent in using it resulting in this type of work being outsourced to consultants. This results in far better value for money than trying to “do it yourself”.

The connection between simulated results and the real world can be evaluated using data from operating plants. In this regard the results have proven to be surprisingly accurate.

As an example the modelling of a WA comminution circuit where the ore hardness had increased resulted in an increase in throughput some 4% higher than had been predicted, a result no one was unhappy about.

Another example of modelling a new ore through an existing SAG Ball pebble crusher circuit predicted the circuit required changes to optimise throughput and that the pebble crusher was not required.

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