Tag Archives: Centerra Gold

ColdBlock and Nucomat partner to automate mineral sampling prep process

Two technology companies that take laboratory efficiency and workplace safety to a new level have pooled their expertise to help automate one of the more labour intensive and risky elements involved in the mineral sampling process.

The combination of the ColdBlock Digestion 3rd Generation Product Line and Nucomat’s Compact Sample Preparation Unit will enable an automated process of “raw sample in, analysis-ready sample out at unprecedented speed and level of operator safety” for labs dealing with mineral samples, according to Nick Kuryluk, CEO of ColdBlock Technologies.

Ahead of a CEMI-hosted webinar to discuss the combination, IM put some questions to Kuryluk and Michael Van de Steene, Software Team Lead at Nucomat.

IM: Since unveiling the ColdBlock Digestion solution back in 2015 at the annual PDAC Convention, what has happened to the technology in terms of speeding up the sampling process for mining companies? I think back then, you were claiming the technology delivered fast digestion rates of between 10 and 15 minutes. Have you managed to speed this up even more?

NK: Since 2015 when we unveiled the technology at PDAC, we have focused on developing a solid evidence generation package that validated the performance of the technology in both the academic setting and the real-world setting through mining organisations and commercial laboratories.

The performance parameters that were validated include 1) high return on investment (ROI), 2) elevated workplace safety, and 3) high analytical accuracy and precision.

  • 1) The Amira Global P1196 project included SGS, Freeport McMoRan, New Gold, Centerra Gold and Newcrest. This project demonstrated that ColdBlock delivers similar analytical measurements to fire assay for gold determination and similar analytical measurements to hotblock for base metal determination (ie copper and iron determination). However, it was further validated that the ColdBlock process can be performed in minutes compared to hours and the cost savings were substantial (average of 50% cost savings vs fire assay for gold application);
  • 2) In regard to workplace safety, we eliminated the use of lead for gold determination (commonly used in fire assay) and, thus, eliminated potential lead contamination for workers and lead waste. For base metal applications, we reduced the use of hydrofluoric acid and perchloric acid in the digestion process, both of which are harmful reagents; and
  • 3) We have now published several papers. The body of work consistently demonstrates the high accuracy and precision in the recovery of elements in both mining and environmental samples. In 2019, the Geological Survey of Canada presented their work comparing ColdBlock to both microwave and hotblock for environmental applications (soils and sludges). It was demonstrated that ColdBlock improved precision from 12.9-1.3% with a 60% time saving.
The ColdBlock Digestion mechanism

The speed of our digestion system remains the same, however, it is unmatched when compared to conventional methods. We can digest sample materials for gold analysis in minutes compared to hours with fire assay. We can also digest sample materials for base metal analysis in minutes compared to hours with hotblock.

IM: Is Nucomat competing in the same sample preparation field as ColdBlock? Where do the two companies’ solutions overlap?

MVdS: Nucomat and ColdBlock Technologies manufacture complementary technologies that will take laboratory efficiency and workplace safety to a higher level.

NK: ColdBlock delivers solutions in optimising laboratory efficiency, productivity and safety:

  • Sample digestion system based on focused short-wave infrared radiation and a cooling zone;
  • Consumables and accessories;
  • Ancillary product solutions; and
  • Laboratory services in method development.

MVdS: Nucomat provides lab automation solutions for sample preparation, handling and testing for quality control laboratories. Our systems aim to control the sample preparation burden for 24/7 applications. These automated systems offer unique advantages compared to manual sample preparation, such as:

  • Operator safety;
  • Traceability and repeatability;
  • Gravimetric accuracy;
  • Validated results; and
  • Web-based remote control.

NK: Together, ColdBlock and Nucomat have joined forces to deliver a powerful solution offering a substantial ROI, elevated workplace safety and throughput while achieving high analytical accuracy and precision.

IM: How will this tie-up between the companies work? Will Nucomat be providing the automation solution for ColdBlock’s technology? How does this relate to the Amira Global P1196A project and delivering the ColdBlock 3rd Generation Product Line?

NK: This collaboration will deliver the integration of the ColdBlock Digestion 3rd Generation Product Line with Nucomat’s Compact Sample Preparation Unit (pictured below in a three reagent configuration). The combined technologies will provide an automated system capable of rapid acid dispensing and digestion. An optional making up to mass feature is also being considered. When combined, these features will enable a process of raw sample in, analysis-ready sample out at unprecedented speed and level of operator safety.

The details of the commercial framework are in progress. The integrated product line will first be offered through the Amira Global Project P1196A initiative. This will be delivered in Q2 (June quarter) 2021. The commercially available product will also be delivered through direct sales and a channel distribution model, which is targeted for Q3 (September quarter) 2021.

IM: What is the end goal of the collaboration?

NK: The end goal of the collaboration is to deliver a powerful solution to today’s challenges of sample preparation and to meet the current needs of the laboratory environment.

The aim is also to address a segment of small and mid-size laboratories that are looking for automated solutions but cannot justify the risk and ROI on a large full-scale automation system.

We aim to deliver:

  • High ROI, including high efficiency/productivity;
  • Elevated workplace safety; and
  • High analytical accuracy and precision.

IM: Is the agreement a reflection of the need to provide more environmentally sensitive sample digestion technologies that are automated to the mining and metals industry? Will the collaboration speed up the development of such a solution?

NK: The agreement is a reflection of both ColdBlock and Nucomat working together to respond to the current needs of the laboratory environment and to deliver a powerful and sustainable laboratory solution.

ColdBlock and Nucomat deliver solutions that are already proven in the marketplace. As such, this collaboration will speed up the development and commercialisation of the integrated solution.

With respect to gold application as an alternative to fire assay, we eliminate the need to use lead as part of the digestion process. So compared to fire assay, we eliminate lead waste and we eliminate lead contamination to workers.

IM: Where in the mining and metals space do you see the most demand or opportunities for deploying such a solution? Do you already have a trial lined up for the solution?

NK: The applications of our technologies are in the following spaces:

  • Mining and minerals applications such as precious metals (namely gold), base metals (such as copper, zinc, iron and nickel) and rare earth elements;
  • Metals and alloys;
  • Environmental; and
  • Other industry applications.

ColdBlock and Nucomat are working together with Amira Global to recruit participants for the Amira Global P1196A project that will see the delivery of ColdBlock’s third-generation product line with Nucomat’s automation solution. This includes both mining organisations and commercial laboratories.

Participating prospects currently come from Canada, USA, South America and Australia.

ColdBlock Technologies and Nucomat will be taking part in a CEMI-hosted webinar titled, ‘The Integration of ColdBlock Digestion with The NUCOMAT Automation System’ on December 2.

Centerra Gold joins CEEC’s quest for eco-efficient comminution

Centerra Gold has become the latest miner to join the Coalition of Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC) as a new sponsor.

Centerra, which follows in the footsteps of Hudbay Minerals in backing the not-for-profit organisation, is a Canada-based gold mining and exploration company with assets in Canada, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkey. It is one of the largest Western-based gold producers in central Asia, and its Mount Milligan mine (pictured) is the first, large new operation in British Columbia in a generation.

The company’s vision is to build a team-based culture of excellence that responsibly delivers sustainable value and growth, according to CEEC.

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, said: “We are thrilled with Centerra’s decision to become a CEEC sponsor. Our sponsors work collaboratively to accelerate energy-efficient, productive mining processes. That’s vital for our industry and communities as we reduce impact, tackle costs and improve shareholder value.

“As a CEEC sponsor, Centerra helps CEEC provide industry with information and tools from experts and grow the network of committed professionals working to accelerate eco-efficient comminution and maximise the potential of their mineral resources and assets.”

Centerra Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Desjardins, praised CEEC for its contributions towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) actions in the field and welcomed the opportunity to share information to advance business goals.

“Centerra’s financial and operational objectives are underpinned by a fundamental commitment to ethical and sustainable practices,” Desjardins said. “Our values are strongly aligned to CEEC’s mission for eco-efficient comminution; environmental, social and governance factors are our foremost priorities as we strive to continually improve the management of our operations.

“CEEC offers a pathway to share best practice and innovation in the international mining sector. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded organisations on shared challenges such as energy and water use.”

Centerra produced 783,308 oz of gold and 3,220 t of copper in 2019, making it one of the leading gold and copper producers based out of Canada.

The company’s major assets include the Kumtor Mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, which has produced more than 12.6 Moz of gold between 1997 and the end of 2019, and the long life, low-cost gold/copper Mount Milligan Mine, in British Columbia, Canada. The third operating mine, the Öksüt Gold Mine, in central Anatolia, Turkey, poured gold for the first time on January 31, 2020, after just 22 months of construction.

BQE Water hits Selen-IX milestone at Kemess gold project

BQE Water says it has successfully completed the commissioning and performance test of the first industrial scale plant using its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management.

The installation at the Kemess property in northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold has, since late August 2020, operated continuously. It has treated 65 litres/s (5,600 cu.m/d) of mine-influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than two parts per billion, BQE Water said.

Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in the Spring of 2021, BQE Water says.

Selen-IX was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove ‘selenate’ form of selenium from mine-influenced waters employing a physico-chemical, instead of biological, method of treatment.

As the Kemess mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below two parts per billion, BQE Water said. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings.

“This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced,” the company said.

Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold, said: “We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the performance test, which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”

Centerra Gold is looking to re-establish the former operating Kemess site into an underground mine and processing facility, able to operate over a 12-year mine life, according to a 2016 feasibility study.

Centerra’s Öksüt gold mine makes commercial leap

Centerra Gold has declared that its Öksüt gold mine in Turkey has achieved commercial production.

The achievement, made as of May 31, 2020, comes four months after the first gold pour on January 31.

Since the inaugural pour, the mine has continued to ramp up mining, crushing, stacking, irrigation of the heap leach pad, as well as the operation of the adsorption-desorption recovery plant and gold production, Centerra said.

Scott Perry, President and CEO, said: “Commercial production at Öksüt marks a major milestone for the company. Öksüt was delivered on time and under budget.

“Centerra now has three producing operations which are expected to generate meaningful free cash flow as we continue to deliver growth and value for shareholders.”

Öksüt was planned as a conventional truck and shovel open-pit heap leach mining operation with a stacking rate of 11,000 t/d. The initial eight-year mine life was expected to process around 1.2 million contained ounces of gold from two open pits, the Keltepe pit and the smaller Güneytepe pit.

Centerra Gold’s Öksüt mine comes to life with first pour

Centerra Gold has achieved the first gold pour from its Öksüt mine, in Turkey, on schedule and ahead of budget.

Additionally, the project achieved a significant safety milestone last week, achieving two million work hours lost time injury free.

Scott Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Centerra, said: “This is an important milestone for the project and for the growth of the company as Öksüt is now our third operating mine and our third source of gold production going forward. Reaching the first gold pour is a testament to the dedication and hard work that our Öksüt team has put in to reach this goal safely.”

He added: “This milestone would not have been achieved without the initial conviction and perseverance from the Centerra exploration team given that the Öksüt mine, originally started as a greenfield exploration venture in 2009.”

Öksüt was planned as a conventional truck and shovel open-pit heap leach mining operation with a stacking rate of 11,000 t/d. The initial eight-year mine life was expected to process around 1.2 million contained ounces of gold from two open pits, the Keltepe pit and the smaller Güneytepe pit.