Ball Mill Single Stage Circuits

Single-Stage Circuits

When finer material is required, a ball mill is used in a closed circuit. The feed is ground and then classified to separate coarse from fine solids. The coarse solids, also called oversized particles, are returned back to the mill for further grinding. This is called the “recirculation load” and the circuit is considered a closed circuit. In a dry circuit, the classifier may be a set of vibrating screens.

In a typical copper or zinc circuit, the recirculation load can be as high as 250–350% of the new feed. The mill and mill discharge pumps must then be sized for the combination of recirculation load and new feed.

Double-Stage Circuits

A rod mill in an open circuit may be followed by a ball mill in a closed circuit. This is called a double-stage circuit and is often a wet process. The output from the rod mills is a slurry that contains a high proportion of coarse stones. The slurry is pumped via “mill discharge pumps” to a hydrocyclone. The underflow from the cyclone is then fed to a ball mill. From there, the output from the ball mill is fed once again to the hydrocyclone via the pump.

In some circuits, the rod mill discharge is fed first to the ball mill before reaching the hydrocyclone. The hydrocyclones then feed the ball mills by gravity. A set of ball mill discharge pumps may then pump the output to a second classification circuit. The ball mill discharge has its own sets of slurry pumps.

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