Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog How does the Metso Vertimill® lead the way in sustainable mining?
Jul 9, 2024

How does the Metso Vertimill® lead the way in sustainable mining?

Graham Davey
Graham Davey
Director, Stirred mills
In the mining and metals industry, balancing both efficiency and sustainability is crucial. Fortunately, Metso's Vertimill® offers a solution that stands out. This innovative grinding technology is designed to save energy whilst supporting sustainable practices, making it a game-changer for modern mining operations.

Transforming efficiency

The Vertimill is revolutionizing the mining industry by significantly improving energy efficiency and operational performance. Compared to traditional stirred mills, the Vertimill uses up to 40% less energy, meaning that not only are the costs lower, but the environmental impact is significantly reduced as well.

The vertical design is a major factor in the efficiency of the Vertimill. Unlike horizontal ball mills, which allow smaller grinding media to flow out, the Vertimill keeps the media in place using gravity to its advantage. The smaller media is more efficient at grinding, due to more contact points, especially for the finer ore particles. Also, the Vertimill vertical body ensures that the grinding media remains in constant contact with the material, enhancing the grinding process and allowing for the use of smaller and more efficient grinding media. This design choice boosts grinding efficiency and energy use.

The grinding mechanism in the Vertimill is also different from that of traditional mills. While traditional mills rely on impact grinding, where balls are lifted and dropped to crush particles, the Vertimill design is based on attrition grinding. In this method, the grinding media remains in contact with the material, applying continuous pressure. Attrition grinding is more effective for breaking down particles and ensuring more efficient energy use and reducing media breakage and wear.

Smaller in size but mighty in benefits

Compared to conventional stirred mills, the Vertimill is smaller in size (about 30-35% less in volume compared to horizontal mills). However, it can handle different feed sizes up to 6 mm and grind to product sizes as fine as 80% passing 20um. It works well in various stages of processing, including secondary and tertiary grinding, regrinding, fine grinding and lime slaking applications. By being smaller, the Vertimill needs less space, less concrete for installation and it’s easier to ship. This smaller footprint is crucial for operations with spatial constraints, particularly in new plants where every square meter counts.

In existing plants, where space is also often a premium, the smaller footprint of the Vertimill is a significant advantage. It’s easier to integrate into tight spaces, making it highly versatile for both large and small operations. Since the need for the resources required for building and running the plant is lower, as a result, the carbon footprint is lower as well.

With Vertisense, it’s possible to monitor wear continuously without stopping, which improves uptime and helps plan maintenance better.

Advanced features for better performance

The Vertimill uses VertisenseTM technology to monitor wear on the screw while the mill is running. Previously, checking wear meant stopping the mill. With Vertisense, it’s possible to monitor wear continuously without stopping. This improves uptime and helps plan maintenance better.

The use of recyclable materials in the Vertimill® further enhances its sustainability profile. The screw liners are crafted from a single type of metal, which makes them easy to recycle and prolongs the lifetime. This means that the Vertimill requires stoppages only every 9-18 months, compared to the 4-12 month intervals needed for conventional horizontal mills. Metso has developed multiple versions of the screw liner to suit different processes. This flexibility, combined with the long wear life of components, means that the Vertimill can operate for extended periods without interruption.

The body liners, made from magnets embedded in rubber, form a sacrificial layer that never needs replacement, which is a revolutionary innovation within the industry. These liners stick to the mill’s body without adhesives, much like tiling a bathroom without glue. They form a protective layer of grinding media that wears away over time, but the magnets themselves rarely fail and can last for the lifetime of the mill.

Shaping the future of sustainable mining

Metso's Vertimill is a major step forward for the mining and metals processing industry. Combining energy efficiency, space-saving design and sustainable practices, the Vertimill is set to lead the way in future mining operations. With the advanced technology and commitment to reducing environmental impact, the Vertimill and Metso are shaping the future of sustainable mining and can become your partner for positive change.