Tag Archives: Alaska

DRA to run the ore sorting numbers at Nova Minerals’ Korbel gold deposit

Nova Minerals has engaged DRA Global to conduct Phase 1 and 2 ore sorting test work at the Korbel gold deposit, in Alaska, USA.

This work will help continue Nova’s progression of the deposit towards a future low strip, bulk minable, heap leach operation, it said.

This is not the first ore sorting remit the engineering firm has had. Back in November, DRA was instructed by Snow Lake Resources to look into ore sorting options at the Thompson Brothers lithium project, in Manitoba, Canada. Snow Lake Resources was previously spun out of Nova Minerals.

The objective of the study through 2020 is to assess the suitability of sorting applicable to the specific style of mineralisation contained at Korbel. It will also involve test work, design, management and supervision to determine ore sorting amenability. Additionally, the study will assess the overall impact of the ore sorting circuit in a future flowsheet. This will include completion of a dynamic simulation in phase 2 to establish ore sorting stockpile and ore sorting requirements for the optimal capital expenditure (capex), operating expenditure, operability and maintainability of the overall process plant.

High level deliverables will include generation of process mass and water balances, mechanical equipment list, and a concept level (AACE Class 5) capex estimate for the entire plant.

The company said: “Nova recognises the need for sorting studies early on in the mine development cycle. These kinds of studies help to keep moving the project towards prefeasibility.”

In addition, the sorting study will run concurrently with the 2020 resource drilling program. Subject to drilling and positive results, Nova sees various processing options at Korbel. These options include heap leach, carbon-in-pulp (CIP) circuit, or a combination of the two.

Nova Minerals Managing Director, Avi Kimelman, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that the company is making towards delivering on its plan to rapidly unlocking the Estelle Gold District through both significantly increasing resources and fast tracking the Block B ‘Starter Pit’ to development. This sorting test work commencing simultaneously with our drilling maintains our strategy of saving time, resources and money by streamlining data and productivity to deliver strong shareholder returns in as short a timeframe as possible whilst still ensuring that the technical and economic possibilities are fully understood and progressed.”

Kimelman said Nova’s greatest accomplishment in 2019 was proving up 2.5 Moz of gold in the inferred resource category in a very short period of time and demonstrating “exceptional” gold leach recoveries averaging 76% at the Korbel deposit (one of 15 known prospects).

“We look forward to amplifying our exploration and project development efforts in 2020 and are committed to keeping our shareholders constantly updated on our progress.”

SMS Equipment to distribute Komatsu heavy equipment in Alaska

SMS Equipment says it has been appointed the official Alaska distributor for the full line-up of Komatsu heavy equipment, serving the construction, forestry, mining, and utility markets in the region.

The Anchorage facility is the 39th location for SMS Equipment in North America, which also has facilities in Mongolia, making it one of the largest heavy equipment distributors in the world.

SMS said it was selected to represent the Komatsu product line in the state thanks to its excellent record of providing world-class customer support in areas with challenges like those faced by Alaskans.

Sales/Operations Manager, Drew Clerc, said: “We’re looking forward to offering the customer-centred support and industry-leading products that both SMS Equipment and Komatsu are known for. SMS and Komatsu have strong reputations for delivering excellent customer service and leading the competition in the integration of new technology.”

To staff the Anchorage branch, SMS has built a team of locals with the experience to meet these challenges head-on, the company said.

“Hiring local talent is key to ensuring that we meet our customers’ needs; however, the reason SMS Equipment did this is much deeper. Supporting the communities where we live and work is a core value of SMS Equipment,” Clerc said.

The Anchorage branch is the first step toward what SMS Equipment envisions as a long and successful relationship with its Alaskan customers, it said.

“Our goal is to develop a solid foundation by delivering exceptional customer support,” Clerc said. “We want to be the number-one solutions provider in Alaska. It will certainly take some time to reach that goal, but I’m confident that we will achieve it one customer at a time.”

In addition to Komatsu, the Anchorage branch will carry and service products from Fecon, Terramac, Takeuchi and others.

MineSense front and centre in bulk ore sorting game

Having just commercialised its bulk ore sorting technology at Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper (HVC) operations in British Columbia, Canada, MineSense is looking to show the wider industry just how effective this pre-concentration process can be.

IM spoke with President and CEO, Jeff More, to find out more about the company’s ShovelSense and BeltSense technologies and how the Vancouver-based startup has been able to secure investment from the likes of ABB, Caterpillar and Mitsubishi.

IM: Can you explain in a little more detail how your ShovelSense and BeltSense solutions work?

JM: The base technology for both is X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) – a technology that has been around for some time. What we have done to this existing technology, which is quite unique, is three things:

  • One, we have extended dramatically the range of XRF. Traditionally XRF would almost have to be held to the surface of a rock to get accurate measurements. The range extension allows us to work in the shovel environment where we are working across metres of volume;
  • Second is speed. Our system is extremely fast. High speed analysis is required on our conveyor belt applications, but this is even more important in the shovel, where we’re measuring dynamically; as the material is flowing into the shovel, to get a representative reading, you have to be able to take very fast readings of the material as it is moving past the sensors;
  • The third is robustness. On a shovel, you are in a nasty environment from a shock and vibration perspective. We developed a system with sensitive components – the XRF itself, as well as the computing devices around it – that can stand up to that very high shock- and vibration-type environment.

IM: The most high-profile examples of the application of your ShovelSense technology have been at copper mines (HVC, in particular); is the detection technology particularly effective in these ores? Is it being trialled elsewhere?

JM: The current sensing we have with the XRF is very effective in a certain section of the periodic table, which nicely covers the major base metals. We’re focused on copper, nickel, zinc and polymetallic versions of those three. The fourth area of focus is iron ore.

We’ve selected copper as our first focus because of the size of the market and the geography. We have done most of our work in copper, but we now also have operating systems in nickel and zinc.

On a lab scale, the technology has been very effective in iron ore, but iron ore is a very different flow sheet, so we have purposely set it as our fourth market in what we call our primary clusters.

We have five mine site customers at the moment – three copper, one zinc-lead and one nickel-polymetallic.

We were very much focused on North America and, in particular, British Columbia for our first pilots and trials as it was quite easy for us to service in our back yard. The first international market was Chile, for obvious reasons in terms of copper production, and we now have a full MineSense entity and team operating in Chile and Peru.

We’re staggering the rest of our global expansion. We’re now quite active from a business development perspective in southern Africa – South Africa, Zambia, DRC – and have activity in Australia.

We have Systems installed at two different copper mines in British Columbia, one at a very large nickel-polymetallic complex in Sudbury, Ontario, and will have a fourth system operating in Alaska. We also have two mines, but four systems, operating in Chile. By the end of Q2, we will have another three systems operating in Chile.

We did all our development work for the system at Teck’s HVC operation and we’re now completely commercial there. We officially commissioned our first system in December, the second system is being commissioned as we speak and the third and fourth will be installed and commissioned in late-March. This will completely equip their fleet.

IM: Teck has previously said the use of ShovelSense has resulted in “a net measurable increase in the amount of ore (and the associated head grade)” it has available to feed its mill at HVC. Are these results in keeping with your expectations for the technology?

JM: Yes, absolutely. We base everything on, what we call, our value model. Very early in our engagement process, we set out a detailed model that calculates the profit improvement that mine will see – we did the same for Teck HVC.

We agreed on a target at HVC and are actually exceeding that estimate. Most importantly, Teck is also seeing that value and is estimating a great overall impact at that mine.

This is an abridged version of a Q&A to be published in the ore sorting feature in the March issue of International Mining.