Understanding what is feeding your process: How ore variability costs money.

The Process Mineralogy Today blog has now been running for over 12 years and in that time, we have built a wealth […]

10 areas where money is lost in mineral process operations

The Process Mineralogy Today blog has now been running for over 12 years and in that time, we have built a wealth […]

Five common misconceptions about Process Mineralogy

The Process Mineralogy Today blog has now been running for over 12 years and in that time, we have built a wealth […]

Why we should consider operational mineralogy

The Process Mineralogy Today blog has now been running for over 12 years and in that time we have built a wealth […]

What is Process Mineralogy?

The Process Mineralogy Today blog has now been running for over 12 years and in that time we have built a wealth […]

Steady state simulation in mineral process assessment

Introduction Understanding the behaviour of mineral processing operations is a constant battle, whether it is finding the right process configuration for the […]

Is the scoping study still relevant in mineral project development?

Introduction Scoping studies are a valuable tool in project evaluation but over the past 5 years the publication of their results has […]

Introduction to MinAssist capabilities in mineral processing and project development

When I started MinAssist over 15 years ago it was to focus on making process mineralogy more accessible in mineral processing. We […]

Building a great Resource into a great Project

Taking a successful exploration project to the next step in evaluating its potential for development is a long and complex process. It […]

MinAssist is launching our new website

MinAssist is pleased to announce the launch of our new website. The focus of our site is to make it easier for […]

Virtual Mineral Processing Assistance with MinAssist

The Virtual Assistance Framework allows us to provide a very cost effective solution where you have full access to our expertise and experience with minimal comprises to achieving productive outcomes.

Analytics in Mineral Processing

The development of advanced data mining techniques, deep learning, machine learning and artificial intelligence now means that the tools are available in mineral processing to better use our data. However, while uptake of advanced analytics has accelerated over the past few years in exploration, mining and geometallurgy there has yet to be a revolutionary advance in how we use data in the mineral processing plant.

Social License – The Key to Successful ISR Operations

  In the previous article we wrote an introductory overview of In-Situ Recovery (ISR) and recent interest from industry and research organisations […]

A Brief Overview of In-situ Recovery (ISR)

  Over the past few years there has been a renewed interest in in-situ recovery methods for metals (ISR). The concept of […]

Working with High-Dimensional Data Part 4: Classifying Unknown Samples using Machine Learning Principles

In the previous articles in this series (part 1, part 2, and part 3) we’ve been performing analyses on an example high-dimensional […]

Working with High-Dimensional Data Part 3: Geospatial Mapping and Mine Planning

  In part 1 of this introductory series about working with high-dimensional data we looked at dimensionality reduction to allow the visualisation […]

Working with High-Dimensional Data Part 2: Classification by Cluster Analysis

In part 1 of this introductory series on working with high-dimensional data we determined that cluster analysis is a commonly used method […]

Working with High-Dimensional Data, Part 1: Dimensionality Reduction

Mineral exploration, mining, ore processing, and, more generally, earth science research, involves the collection of large and complex data sets where single […]

Considerations with QEMSCAN Grain Size Estimation

Most SEM-EDS systems have the ability to compute grain size. Not all systems use the same computational methods and we advise that […]

Linking Sample Prep with Particle Stats and Data Quality

    In last week’s article we spent some time evaluating particle statistics using SEM-EDS data to demonstrate the importance of the […]

Evaluation of SEM-EDS Particle Count Statistics

In our last article I re-introduced the concept of using statistics to determine if enough particle sections have been measured to produce a […]

Have you measured enough particles?

One of the key questions about SEM-EDS data is whether or not you’ve measured enough particle sections to produce a representative result. […]

The Applied Mineralogy User Community

The field of applied mineralogy has always had a basis in a strong community, this has led to to numerous developments that […]


The most common approach to assessing the accuracy of QEMSCAN mineralogy results is to compare the measured assay with the mineralogy-computed chemical […]

Three areas that may affect the quality of your mineralogy data

  The complex nature of QEMSCAN mineralogy results necessitates a thorough assessment of data quality relative to ‘best practices’ values. The MinAssist […]


Do you rely on routine SEM-EDS mineral analysis to monitor or drive process development and operational optimisation? Have you ever considered the […]

Welcoming Pieter Botha to the MinAssist team

  We would like to welcome Pieter Botha to the MinAssist team.  I worked closely with Pieter at Intellection on development of […]

Upskilling the Workforce using Operational Mineralogy

Increasingly mining companies are recognizing the need to take on new technology developments in order to increase the efficiency and productivity of […]

Direct Measurement of Submicroscopic Gold: Methods and Applications

The ability to recover gold effectively is largely dependent on the nature/carriers of gold and the mineral processing techniques utilized. Gold ores […]

How do geometallurgical models relate to operational mineralogy?

In preparation for the AusIMM Geomet ’16 conference in Perth next week we thought a brief introduction to how operational mineralogy can […]

How can Operational Mineralogy be used to increase the efficiency of the identify, diagnose, execute, augment (I.D.E.A) cycle for continuous improvement?

The approach in Operational Mineralogy is to focus on generating mineralogical data that is useful for particular goals.  This helps to identify […]

Workshop: Basics of Operational Mineralogy

    For all of you who are going to, or thinking about going to, the AusIMM Geomet 16 conference in Perth […]

iMin (mineral) – building operational mineralogy capability for minerals processing

The iMin(mineral) package was developed by Dr Will Goodall at MinAssist as a tool for minerals processing operations to effectively access routine […]

The use of trend based mineralogy in continuous process improvement

The analysis of daily composite samples forms the core component of any operational mineralogy program.  This provides a snapshot of the daily […]

The iMin Workbench – A framework for predictive control with mineralogy

Since the introduction of automated mineralogy almost 40 years ago the holy grail has been to bring the capability to operational sites. […]

What are the key goals of an operational mineralogy program?

Many operations deal with orebodies that are highly variable in metal grade, ore mineralogy, gangue mineralogy and processing behaviour. Ore with complex […]

Introducing iMin Solutions – a new way to build mineralogy capability in operations

We are pleased to announce that MinAssist, along with Petrolab have teamed up to establish iMin Solutions, a company focused on bringing […]

From Paragenesis to Processing: Geological Reconstructions Carry Implications for Mineral Processing

  This case study briefly highlights the potential to derive, in an approximate sense, likely processing behaviour from geological reconstructions. In turn, […]

Mineralogical drivers for flotation video

    At Process Mineralogy Today we like to keep an eye out for useful tools that help in gaining a better […]

Kinetics of ore flotation

The following article has been republished from Concentration of Minerals, an excellent resource compiled by Dr Natalia Petrovskaya.     Flotation kinetics […]

Geometallurgy – A Geologist’s Approach

From a geologist’s point of view geological models form the starting point of successful geometallurgical studies. Most importantly, geological models consist of […]

Successful operations are focussing on mineralogy to improve productivity

A recent article in the Mining News commented that ‘miners have gone from the growth at all costs phase to maximising the […]

7 Considerations in setting up an operational mineralogy program

The use of routine mineralogical characterisation of targeted process streams can have significant value for an operation.  This is especially true where […]

Announcing co-operation partnership with Zeiss Microscopy

MinAssist is pleased to announce that we have entered into a co-operation agreement with Zeiss Microscopy to provide end-to-end solutions for their […]

Why we should consider operational mineralogy

  In most operations we understand that minerals are being processed but we tend to almost exclusively rely on chemical assays to […]

Where does your operation sit on CEEC’s efficiency curve? (CEEC workshop, Vancouver, BC September 24th)

The Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC) runs the CEEC Energy Curve Program, a tool which allows comminution circuit operators to benchmark the energy efficiency […]

A short history of automated mineralogy colours

The following article was originally posted on the Automated Mineralogy and Petrology Blog by Dr Alan Butcher and Dr David Haberlah.  The topic […]

Third AusIMM International Geometallurgy Conference

It’s time to start thinking about the 3rd AusIMM International Geometallurgy Conference to be held in Perth, Australia from June 15-17 2016. […]

Petrolab adds new automated mineralogy capability

  Petrolab, our great friends in Cornwall, UK have been busy over the last few months building up their capability in automated […]

5 common misconceptions about process mineralogy

Process mineralogy is a term that is used in a lot of contexts from process optimisation to Geometallurgy but it’s usefulness and […]

Zeiss release Mineralogic Mining 1.2 update

ZEISS have announced the release of version 1.2 of Mineralogic Mining – their automated mineralogy software system. The latest version delivers a host of […]

ALTA free library for a great selection of papers

This year is the 20th anniversary of the ALTA conference and it is great to see that in conjunction with this milestone […]

Why use screened fractions in automated mineralogy?

The use of screened fractions at the simplest level is done to provide cleaner data by helping to reduce touching particles and the bias that can be introduced through stereological effects. There are well documented reasons based on the mathematics of converting 2d section images into 3d particles (stereology), which show that if we want to generate a meaningful grain size distribution it should be required that screened fractions are analysed. Stereological corrections work well because they calculate 3d parameters based on a statistically random distribution of particle orientations.

Zeiss release Mineralogic Mining 1.1 update

Zeiss microscopy have recently announced the release of version 1.1 of their Mineralogic Mining software.  After releasing Mineralogic Mining in July 2014 […]

Returning Mineral Processing to Profitability: The Cost Conscious Approach (Part 1)

As revenues from mining and mineral processing operations become largely volatile and under increased commodity price pressure, businesses and operators are re-thinking […]

AusIMM Melbourne Branch Distinguished Speaker Lunch 2015

MinAssist would like to encourage all of our readers based in Melbourne to consider attending the upcoming Distinguished Speaker Luncheon to be held on the 19th of March, 2015 at the Crown Complex River Room in Melbourne. This should be a great event and in addition to the engaging talk by Ken Roche it is an excellent way to connect with others in the Melbourne mining community.

MinAssist sponsorship of Process Mineralogy ’14

MinAssist is proud to announce sponsorship of Minerals Engineering International’s (MEI) 3rd International Symposium on Process Mineralogy (Process Mineralogy ’14) to be held […]

Improving mining productivity: Is process mineralogy one of the keys?

Over the last few months there have been a number of reports released highlighting the declining trend in productivity for the mining […]

ZEISS Mineralogic-Mining: a new automated mineralogy system on the market

This week, ZEISS released the latest automated mineralogy system to hit the market; Mineralogic-Mining.  Mineralogic-Mining combines a scanning electron microscope with one […]

Geometallurgy Conference (IOM3), London, June 2014

The recent IOM3 (UK Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) Geometallurgy 2014 Conference held in London, UK on the 9-10th June was […]

Reprocessing Tailings Dams – A systematic characterisation approach (Part 2)

In the first part of this blog (2nd April 2014) a brief introduction was given on having a systematic approach to tailings […]

Reprocessing Tailings Dams – A systematic Approach (Part 1)

This is the first of two blogs examining the reprocessing of tailings dams.   Millions of tonnes of sulphide tailings are produced […]


This is the second of two blog posts by Stephen Gay exploring mineralogical modelling (Part 1 published 20th March 2014).  Part 2 […]

Mineralogical Modelling: Rule of Thumb vs Probability Methods (Part 1)

This is the first of two blog posts on mineralogical modelling where we highlight some of the terminology used and misconceptions made. […]

Mineralogy: The missing “M” in AMD prediction?

The previous blog of 5th December 2013 Flotation Mineralogy: Valid and Valuable examined the role of mineralogy in flotation.  Indeed, many of these […]

Flotation mineralogy: Valid and Valuable?

Following on to the conclusion of another successful MEI conference, Flotation ’13, some interesting comments and feedback have emerged that highlight the […]

Reinventing the Acid Rock Drainage testing wheel

The Challenge Acid rock drainage (ARD) testing as practised by the mining industry is in need for reinvention. With the global financial […]

Mining: A Knowledge Cluster in Cornwall – 100 years of the Cornish Institute of Engineers

  Friday 11th October saw the Cornish Institute of Engineers celebrate 100 years of promoting engineering excellence in Cornwall with a day-conference […]

Operational Health Check Suite

Over the last few months, MinAssist has progressively launched a series of “Operational Health Checks” that have been developed as suite of off-the-shelf […]

When to invest in process mineralogy

Over the past few months we have explored the value of investing in Process Mineralogy in some detail.  We have established that […]

What is the Return on Investment of using Process Mineralogy?

In this week’s blog, we seek to respond to a common question that we hear at MinAssist: what is the return I […]

Using mineralogical understanding as a building block for plant process improvement

Developers and operators of mining and mineral processing operations face constant challenges to become more efficient, whilst at the same time being […]

Value losses due to poor liberation and classification

The crushing and grinding circuit in any process flowsheet is a major contributor to cost and should be a major focus of […]

Liberation and Free Surface Area in the Float Feed

Liberation measurements estimate the volumetric grade distribution of a mineral as a measure of the quality in a processing stream (Spencer and Sutherland, 2000). Put simply, it is based on the area % of the mineral grain in the particle

Whats new in Process Mineralogy Technology: The QEMSCAN EXpress

For those of us using Process Mineralogy on a regular basis, the introduction of more accessible systems, such as the QEMSCAN EXpress, opens a new door to generate meaningful mineralogical information at site, reducing turn-around times and allowing metallurgists to use mineralogy more as a predictive tool and less as a reactive post-mortem of what went wrong

Rock and Mineral Texture: Controls on Processing

The texture of an ore will define: the grain size distribution(s) and P80 target grind size; the grindability of the ore; the degree […]

Understanding what is feeding your process: How ore variability costs money!

Too often operations utilise ore type definitions that are based on geological or mining characteristics and have little relation to the processing behaviour of the material. This is perfectly valid for resource definition and mine planning but when applied to processing can be misleading. While there are situations where the relationship is valid, for the majority of operations there do remain subtle differences in how ore domains should be processed.

Flotation Circuit: Concentrate Grade and Recovery

The texture of particles within a flotation cell play a pivotal role in both mineral recovery, and the grade, in the flotation […]

Where we lose money in mineral processing operations

Every mineral processing operation has some areas that are inefficient and cost them money every day.  Understanding where these areas might be […]

What is Geometallurgy?

With today’s increasingly complex ore bodies, it is no longer sufficient to use grade and tonnes alone to manage risk and optimise […]

What is Process Mineralogy?

The use of Process Mineralogy has increasingly become a larger part of everyday operation in mines and mineral processing plants.  To explain what […]

Tailings Health Check

Lost material going out to the tailings is a hard reality – however are all the losses unavoidable without a major change […]

MinAssist in the Media – Midas Mission

The recent crash in the gold price has placed operators and explorers in a difficult position, needing to increase discoveries and production […]

News Release: Updated MinAssist website and Process Mineralogy Digital Book

MinAssist has today released their new website ( along with a free digital book “Integrating Mineralogy into Everyday Solutions”.

Reducing the cost of grinding

To help with this MinAssist has developed the first in a suite of off-the-shelf services to make undertaking a Grind Optimisation Program accessible and easy.

Process mineralogy at the Hillside Cu-Au Project

The Hillside Cu-Au Project, located within striking distance of Adelaide in South Australia was discovered in 2008-2009 and since then a Resource of 330Mt @ 0.8% Cu(eq) has been defined and 120Mt @0.77% Cu(eq) converted into Reserves. Rex Minerals completed a pre-feasibility study in October 2012 and are progressing with development of a 15Mtpa processing facility to produce a proposed 70,000 tonnes of Cu and 50,000oz of gold, along with a sweetener of 1.2Mtpa of magnetite. This will all be done for a C1 cash operating cost of US$1.2/lb Cu (Eq), which is very impressive.

MinAssist welcomes Al Cropp to the team

MinAssist would like to welcome Al Cropp to the team. Al has nearly 10 years working within process mineralogy, primarily through developing […]

MinAssist in the Media: Ask the Expert – Value from Mineralogy

Check out the latest issue of the Mining Magazine for an article by MinAssist’s, Dr Will Goodall.  In  this Ask the Expert column […]

Why feasibility studies fail! – A summary

Last week I attended a very interesting presentation by AMC Consultants chairman and past AusIMM president, Peter McCarthy on “Why feasibility studies fail!” (Link). Peter has been involved in running studies for over 40 years and has seen many different reasons for projects not achieving the targets set out in the original feasibility study.

Some of the key points of project failure were around the very human desire to see projects be developed, even when objectively they may be doomed to failure. A lack of communication between study teams, construction teams and eventually operations teams also led to plans from feasibility not being implemented on the proposed schedule and leading to difficulties later in the project cycle.

AusIMM Melbourne Branch February Technical session

The Melbourne branch of the AusIMM will be holding a technical session on Tuesday 12th of February where Peter McCarthy will be giving his thoughts on the state of feasibility studies for new projects and generally why they fail.

Australian Gold Processing – Trans IMM C special issue

MinAssist was delighted to have our paper, “The use of QEMSCAN in practical gold deportment studies”, included in this special issue. We encouraged anyone interested in the Australian gold industry to have a look at the content of the special issue and see the excellent work that is being done to advance gold processing and our understanding of gold deposits in Australia.

Process Mineralogy ’12

It is really great to see that MEI’s Process Mineralogy ’12 conference in Cape Town, South Africa was such a great success. Unfortunately MinAssist was unable to attend but Barry Will’s has provided a great summary on the MEI Blog. Congratulations to the MEI team and all the presenters.

Practical gold deportment studies

The deportment of gold in plant feed, product or tailing samples is the primary driver behind how we can best recover that gold or in the case of tailings, why it was lost. As the gold price climbs, recovery of every available ounce of gold becomes more desirable and consequently developing a fundamental understanding of gold deportment should be the first action of anyone involved in gold processing.

Mineralogical ore typing by QEMSCAN

Today I wanted to share some more thoughts on the usefullness of ore typing to mining and mineral processing operations. I have recently been working on a the beginnings of a geometallurgical program for an open pit operation where the whole processing chain from mining, through processing and to smelting is included. This has given me a unique opportunity to view ore typing from the perspective that although the mill is the direct customer of the mines ore types, consideration must be made for the effect that changing ore type can have on products fed to a smelter.

Welcome to 2010!

Welcome to another exciting year for the minerals industry. Compared to this time last year optimism is high and the drive to make the most of what appears to be a continuing boom in the mining industry is certainly there. At MinAssist we have seen increased confidence and optimism since the middle of last year and it seems that forward thinking mining companies are continuing to embrace mineralogy as a driver in many process optimisation and development projects.

What is a theoretical grade-recovery curve? An example.

The theoretical grade-recovery curve for an ore is a definition of the maximum expected recovery by flotation of a mineral or element at a given grade. This is defined by the surface area liberation of the value minerals and is consequently directly related to the grind size utilised in the process. The theoretical grade-recovery can be readily used to quickly identify potential recovery increases that can be gained through optimisation of flotation circuits and whether the process is running efficiently.

A greater understanding of your process by mineralogical ore characterisation

Ore characterisation is a very broad term that is viewed differently by geologists, mineralogists and metallurgists. It does however fundamentally cover the concept of defining the building blocks of an ore, giving insight into how best to deal with it.

XRD and QEMSCAN mineralogy: Redundant or Complementary?

For those readers familiar with setup of QEMSCAN test programs a standard test is preliminary analysis of the bulk sample by XRD. In combination with elemental analysis this is a vital step, especially for unknown samples. It develops a level of understanding about the material that can focus the QEMSCAN analysis and help give sufficient information for important processes such as SIP development.

Powerful auditing using process mineralogy

An effective process auditing program is an important part of maintaining consistent recoveries in mineral processing operations. Traditionally, process audits are completed using chemical and metallurgical methods to monitor recovery and elemental distribution. The development of automated mineralogy and more efficient process mineralogy analysis techniques means that mineralogy is now more accessible as an efficient and comprehensive auditing tool.

What is my risk? Using mineralogy as a risk reduction tool.

A significant benefit of process mineralogy is the advantage it can bring in reduction of technical risk in mineral processing. Site metallurgists and managers can use mineralogy to gain an in-depth understanding of the ore being fed to their operation and reduce the effect of ore variability on recoveries

What’s in my tailings? Mineralogy as a diagnostic tool for process performance

Tailings evaluation using mineralogy is an area that I believe can define the actual losses in a plant, while simultaneously providing the first step in defining why they occur. There is massive scope to use an understanding of tailings to see what is and what isn’t working in your process.

Process Mineralogy in optimization and troubleshooting

I wanted to start our exploration of process mineralogy in the middle of the mine life cycle, with its use in process optimisation and troubleshooting. Why start here you ask? Well process mineralogy can have the biggest impact and finds the most use in this area so it is a great introduction.

The how, what and where of process mineralogy

Welcome to the new addition of the MinAssist blog, to be known as ‘Process Mineralogy Today’. This blog has been developed by MinAssist to promote the use of process mineralogy within operations and as a forum to promote discussion on the most effective ways to achieve this. I encourage you as the readers to comment on the ideas presented and add your comments on where you see process mineralogy going in today’s industry.