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Modular Beneficiation

Modular Beneficiation

The most efficient and productive beneficiation technologies available may not necessarily be the most appropriate for specific applications due to their lack of relocatability.

Beneficiation is defined as “any process that improves the economic value of ore by the removal of gangue”. It can be broadly divided into two categories – wet and dry. Wet beneficiation possesses some notable advantages over dry beneficiation including numerous equipment options, high upgrade potential and high capacity. However, there are three main problem areas:

Significant water usage
High energy consumption from water pumping and removal
Environmental damage through the creation of Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs).

Whilst many wet processes can upgrade single micron size particles, dry processes are effectively limited to >100μm particle sizes, which infers that they are better placed at the front end of a circuit where the particles are much larger. A key modular dry beneficiation technology which has gained traction in mining applications over the last decade is ore sorting.  By working on ore sorting projects and collaborating with vendors and laboratories over the last five years and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge in this field. In conjunction with our partners, we are able to design systems, perform test work and implement solutions.From a capital expenditure perspective, dividing a plant up into relocatable modules allows the depreciation of the plant to be amortised over a number of projects which improves its suitability for smaller resources.

We have focussed on solving four key issues associated with relocatable plants:

a) Tailings Dams:

The design, permitting, construction and management of conventional wet tailings dams is highly regulated
Approval to operate may take well over a year to accomplish
Dam construction characterised by high cost of mobilising dam building equipment and ongoing fixed costs
Cost per stored tonne far higher for small TSFs than for larger ones
Solution is to dry stack tailings - reduces permitting requirements, fixed costs and environmental liability

b) Water Usage:

Lack of water availability and limited abstraction licences are common constraints in small resources
Eliminate water intensive sub-processes from the plant
Ensure the maximum volume is returned from tailings deposition by using dry stacking methodologies
Minimise evaporation opportunities
Gain an accurate understanding of local water balance dynamics through probabilistic modelling

c) Transportability:

Hire equipment locally where possible, modularise and transport everything else
Crushing and screening to be mobile and hired on a campaign basis
All other equipment such as storage, leach, adsorption and elution tanks and associated services to be modular and less than 3.5m in width to avoid road regulation restrictions and the need for pilots

d) Plant Reestablishment:

Avoid the need for externally sourced cranes
Minimise or eliminate the need for concrete