An energy benchmarking method was developed for mineral comminution and trialed at two SAG mill based operations in British Columbia. The method involves subjecting ore samples to single-particle compression testing to determine the minimum practical energy required to carry out the equivalent comminution duty of site crushing and grinding processes. The minimum practical energy is then compared to the actual energy consumed at the respective mining operation to determine the Benchmark Energy Factor (BEF), an energy performance indicator, of comminution processes at the plant. A key feature of the method is that it is not constrained to one comminution technology, thereby allowing the comminution energy performance of plants comprising different crushing and grinding technologies to be effectively compared. Application of the proposed test to samples prior to and after equipment upgrades provides a method to account for any variation in ore hardness and directly compare the impact of plant modification on energy performance.

Using the BEF metric, the energy performance of two operations treating copper-porphyry ore was determined. Additionally, the energy performance of different comminution technologies was compared. The energy benchmarking method was found to hold considerable potential for representing ore hardness within an Energy Management Information System and as a measurement and validation tool. Furthermore, it was identified as being a potentially valuable metric for inclusion in the TSM Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management Protocol.