Why be energy efficient?

Gold ore grinding mills

Gold ore grinding mills in action.

Comminution (crushing and grinding), separation (froth flotation) and concentrate drying are the processes where most of the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are derived in the mining and mineral processing sectors. Comminution is the most energy intensive of these processes. In some mining sub-sectors, such as gold, copper and nickel, comminution comprises over 70% of total energy use.12 Comminution energy costs are forecast to increase significantly over the next two decades due to the overall trend of declining ore grades. Some of these costs can be better managed through adopting more efficient comminution processes and technologies.

For information on mineral processing technologies, see Technology Background – Mineral Processing.


Opportunities to improve energy efficiency of mineral processing technologies include activities in the following areas:

See all opportunities in Mineral processing

Key resources

  • Review of Existing Eco-Efficient Comminution Devices 2011
    • Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution

    This resource provides comprehensive information on the different technical efficiencies for various types of size-reduction devices. The review also considers attributes of each device from the viewpoint of eco-efficiency.

  • Efficiency, Economics, Energy and Emissions – Emerging Criteria for Comminution Circuit Decision Making 2011 (Opens in a new window)

    This paper presents the summarised results from the completion studies of circuit technology comparisons conducted in the past few years. An additional sustainable aspect incorporating the impact on environment is evaluated.

  • Eco-Efficient Comminution Resources 2012
    • Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution

    The Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC) has been established and supported by a broad range of mining sector companies keen to accelerate awareness, knowledge transfer and, by implication, improve energy and cost outcomes in the substantive area of comminution. CEEC is a global initiative, providing access on the most current technical scientific papers and field studies to the worldwide mining industry.

Footnotes ~ Show 2 footnotes

  1. Daniel M and Lewis-Gray E (2011) Comminution efficiency attracts attention
  2. La Nauze R D and Temos J (2002) WMC Resources Ltd, Technologies for Sustainable Operations Conference proceedings CMMI Congress, Cairns, Australia May 2002 pp. 27–33