2005 – Extractive Metallurgy Conference, Brisbane Australia
Metallurgical accounting can be defined as the measurement of the quantities of
valuable metals from the time the ore is broken at the primary crusher until the time
that we have the final products in the form of gold bars, concentrates or ingots and
residues. The overall purpose of metallurgical accounting is to provide management
with up to date information that can be used to control mining and metallurgical
operations. The decisions that are taken on the basis of this information that the
metallurgical accounting system provides should result in improved control and
ultimately increased revenue. The current state of accounting is a result of an
evolutionary process that has been going on for many years and will continue as
process plants become more technically sophisticated. Mine “call factors” and grade
control reconciliation leads to frustration between geoscientists and metallurgists and
a level of distrust that the mill grade may not be correct.
Metallurgical accounting is not included in undergraduate courses and the acceptable
industry standards are based on what is considered acceptable to industry personnel
and consultants. There is no handbook or reference manual. Computer based
databases and spreadsheets have transformed what was previously tedious book
keeping into important management tools. Over time these standards have improved
due to improvements in analytical procedures, weighing technology and sampling.
This paper provides anecdotal examples of problems and improvements observed
over a number of years within the industry.