The Mill Operating Resource - 1: Ore Preparation

The Mill Operating Resource - 1: Ore Preparation

Areas of Study: Mineral Processing

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

This course is the first in a set of two courses on Mill Operating. It is a resource for people who need to understand and operate the equipment used in mineral processing. The first course covers feeders, conveyors, crushers, ore storage, grinding mills, and mill safety.


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Course Summary


The Mill Operating Resource is even more than its name implies. As well as a resource for people who need to understand and operate the equipment used in mineral processing, it also provides the base knowledge required to understand new technology. While applications and materials are always evolving, the laws and principles that these are developed from are fixed. The author, in his spare time a writer and illustrator, has more than 30 years of experience supervising and directing mill operations in Canada. It is from this background and his own training needs that the resource has been developed. The resource is presented as a set of two courses ... The Mill Operating Resource - 1: Ore Preparation and - 2: Mineral Recovery.

This course is a companion to The Mill Operating Resource - 2: Mineral Recovery and sets the stage by addressing feeders, conveyors, crushers, ore storage, grinding mills, and mill safety.

If you are an operator and you are feeling challenged by the "why" of things or intimidated by technology, then certification in this course will give you the knowledge to fully participate in the technical workings of a mineral processing plant. The grounding you will receive in mechanical design, plant maintenance, electricity, metallurgy, hydrometallurgy, environmental monitoring, emergency response, instrumentation, safety, fire fighting, and regulatory constraints will enable you to recognize problems as they are developing, initiate the appropriate responses, and better understand new technologies as you encounter them. You will also have a better appreciation of your job requirements and be able to communicate more effectively with engineers and managers.

If you are a manager, engineer, training supervisor, metallurgical technician, or front-line supervisor this resource is still for you! It provides practical knowledge, experience, and insight into how these multi-disciplinary processes work in practice and what to look out for when problems arise. But the greatest benefit of this resource derives from its value as a tool that can be used to enhance the productivity of your plant, and a platform from which to construct your own training curriculum. The resource provides a wealth of information that is missing from most in-house training programs. Most importantly, it provides knowledge continuity and standardized testing to aid in the evaluation and development of your operating personnel. The resource can also be used as a prerequisite to employment to ensure commitment and ability.

Other advantages include:

  • testing and certification,
  • improved employee morale,
  • increased safety awareness,
  • improved circuit management,
  • decrease in downtime and/or equipment damage, and
  • increased understanding of technological change.


This resource focuses on process rather than equipment. The numerous illustrations used to demonstrate the various processes and equipment are not representative of any one make or brand. The illustrations are intended to show the "how" of things. Because the resource is so comprehensive, the information given will often also give clues to solutions of other problems.

The Mill Operating Resource 1 - Ore Preparation comprises the following five parts.

  • Feeders and Conveyors
  • Primary Crushing
  • Secondary and Tertiary Crushing
  • Storage and Grinding
  • General and Safety
The course is presented as 19 learning sessions, each of 30 to 60 minutes duration, plus numerous figures and schematics. It also includes five interactive review sessions for verification of course learning objectives. Total course duration is equivalent to approximately 16 hours of learning content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and discuss the basic principles of the processes and equipment that are used in ore preparation.
  • Identify the variables that influence ore preparation processes and apply this knowledge to efficient operation of the processes.
  • Recognize, troubleshoot, and respond to problems that may occur in the processes and equipment used in ore preparation.
  • Identify and practise the necessary safety regulations and recommendations required for mill operations.

Recommended Background

  • a technical background
  • some experience of mill operations

Ron Magill

Ron has 40+ years' experience in mineral processing and supervision. Due to coming up through the ranks and his close involvement with operating personnel he speaks the same language as the new operator and first time supervisor; having been there he knows what they need. Perhaps more importantly, through a keen interest in industrial psychology and communication theory, his courses are presented in terms that the layperson can understand, with just enough background information to de-mystify the world of mineral processing.