The development of mineral projects is only as good as the quality of the test work used for design. We use metallurgical test work for determine engineering design parameters and the expected behaviour of each ore type to be processed through the life of the mine. Poor sample selection or poorly designed test work programs can result in poor performance or even failure of the operation once commissioned.

Sighter Test Work

MinAssist provides support for metallurgical test work programs from start to finish. The first stage is usually simple sighter tests used to confirm assumptions in the conceptual flow sheet and provide initial design inputs. It is a critical stage for development of any minerals project and MinAssist specialises in tailoring these programs to provide the best possible benchmark for subsequent test work and study stages.

Programs include initial planning and determination of the best qualified laboratories to perform the work. MinAssist has a global network of metallurgical laboratories specialising in various aspects of mineral processing flow sheets. We utilise this network to select the best laboratory for your project, reducing risk of poor quality results and ensuring that experienced technicians are handling your tests.

Test Work Plan Development

MinAssist can develop comprehensive test work plans for taking your project from exploration to feasibility across all commodities. Our plans include all stages of test work to allow for accurate early budgeting and maintain the flexibility to adapt as the project matures. We maintain close relationships with laboratories globally to ensure that our plans are always supported by the most skilled and experienced technicians.

Development of well structured test work plans can help drive projects. While interim results invariably lead to updates to these plans it is important to ensure that all key milestones to support feasibility analysis are included.

Our plans typically include:

  • Detailed sampling plan to ensure that materials used for testing are representative of key ore types in the resource.
  • Mineralogical analysis to drive a fundamental understanding of the ore composition and drive more efficient test work.
  • Early stage process simulation to allow faster evaluation of the effects different results have on the process efficiency.
  • Evaluation of comminution characteristics of ore to define likely behaviour of ore in crushing and grinding circuits.
  • Evaluation of pre-concentration opportunities. We have been very successful in a number of projects in rejection of up to 90% of the mass early in the process circuit.
  • Bench scale test work defining relationship with grinding characteristics, reagent consumption and target mineral recovery.
  • Variability testing to validate the proposed flowsheet across a range of scenarios and feed into geometallurgical modelling.
  • Pilot scale testing for more complex flow sheets.

Test Work Management

MinAssist will work directly with laboratories to ensure that planned test work is undertaken as planned and results obtained in a timely manner. We have close relationships with many laboratories and will manage the program to ensure that successful outcomes are achieved on time and on budget.

By maintaining close communication with the laboratory MinAssist ensures projects remain flexible and if results require adjustments to the program these can be implemented quickly without the need for significant re-work.

Interpretation Of Results

Generating test work results is only half the purpose of any successful project. MinAssist has 20 years experience in assessing and interpreting results across a wide range of commodities and process unit operations. We work closely with the laboratories to ensure that results received that be used effectively to predict process behaviour. This extends to providing accurate design criteria for when the project progresses to engineering design. This reduces project risk and allows greater confidence in engineering design at an earlier stage in the project life cycle.

Reporting & Presentation Of Results

Metallurgical results and interpretation are only as good as their presentation. For all our projects MinAssist provides comprehensive reporting of the program in a range of fit-for-purpose formats. A detailed report will be provided for use in engineering design, due diligence etc. This will be supported by simple presentations of the data to ensure that internal stakeholders understand the results and where focus should be placed. MinAssist also has extensive experience with market reporting for the ASX, TSX and AIM markets and routinely supports clients to present metallurgical results in a format suitable for investors.

Who have we helped?

MinAssist has planned and delivered metallurgical test work projects for 20 years, working globally on both small scale and Tier 1 operations. Some examples include:

Nolan’s Gold Mine, Ravenswood, Australia

Bench scale and pilot test work to test beneficiation of gold by scrubbing and screen. Included planning, commissioning and implementation of on site pilot plant.

Rampura Agucha Zinc-lead operation, Rhajastan, India

Development of variability sampling program on grade control drilling for ore typing. Variability samples tested by detailed automated mineralogical characterisation and bench scale flotation. Results used to define ore domains to be linked to process performance.

Cadia copper-gold operation, Australia

Interpretation and reporting for gold characterisation analysis by QEMSCAN performed by Bureau Veritas.

Altyntau Gold Mine, Kazakhstan

Diagnostic leaching and gold deportment characterisation test work to support evaluation of an operational mineralogy program. Included detailed and simplified diagnostic leaching procedures for physico-chemical distribution of gold, supported by mineralogical characterisation.

Cleveland Tin Project, Tasmania

Bench scale flow sheet testing for gravity and flotation circuits in the Cleveland tin flow sheet. Variability flotation testing for Cleveland tin tailings project. R&D test work for hydrometallurgical tin process development.

Haggan Uranium Project, Sweden

Managed exploratory test work program with examining different conceptual flow sheet options, including: atmospheric acid leaching, pressure acid leaching, atmospheric alkaline leaching, pressure alkaline leaching, conventional heap leaching, tank bioleaching, heap bioleaching. Managed scoping level column leaching program to define design criteria for bacterial heap leaching circuit.

Tiris Uranium Project, Mauritania

Beneficiation leaching program that demonstrated 90% of uranium could be recovered to 10% of feed mass. Resulted in development of innovative flow sheet. Feasibility test work for alkaline leach circuit with ion exchange uranium recovery.

Haggan Vanadium Project, Sweden

Sighter test work program comparing salt roast vanadium recovery with pressure oxidation recovery.

Red mud biorehabilitation, Jamaica

Test work on bioremediation of alkaline Red Mud with sugar cane mulch as a precursor to conversion to engineered soil.