Tag Archives: SGS

SGS completes expansion of minerals and metals testing lab in Spijkenisse

SGS, one of the world’s largest testing, inspection and certification companies, has completed the expansion of its state-of-the-art minerals and metals testing laboratory in Spijkenisse, the Netherlands, enhancing the facility’s testing capacity to support global business.

The company, back in July 2021, announced it was expanding the testing hub on a rising demand for testing services.

The facility, which includes the existing laboratory as well as the recently opened extension, can test a wide variety of minerals and metals. Among these are copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver concentrates, as well as industrial minerals, ferrous metals, intermediate products and high-purity metals.

The laboratory is ISO/IEC 17025- and ISO 9001-accredited and is an approved LME Listed Sampler and Assayer, according to SGS. It provides a range of services, including:

  • High-value umpire analysis for commercial settlement;
  • Platinum group metals (PGM) analysis;
  • Electrogravimetric analysis;
  • Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and atomic absorption (AA) testing;
  • Titration;
  • Combustion analysis;
  • Transportable moisture limit (TML) and flow moisture point (FMP) testing; and
  • Advanced fire assay testing via the state-of-the-art fire assay department.

This facility is a “Center of Excellence” that serves SGS’s global minerals and metals clients, providing them with a consistently high-quality output, the company says. The laboratory operates in accordance with the industry’s latest best practices, as well as leading global safety and sustainability standards.

Thanks to the laboratory’s strategic location near the port of Rotterdam and its first-class capabilities, the expansion of the Spijkenisse facility offers even faster and more accurate results to SGS’s customers, the company added.

SGS to support Côte d’Ivoire mining industry with new geochemistry lab

SGS has opened a new geochemistry laboratory in Yamoussoukra, Côte d’Ivoire, as it looks to support a growing local mining industry.

Ivory Coast has huge untapped resources, with estimates that two-thirds of the country is covered in untapped mineral deposits, SGS said. Gold remains one of Ivory Coast’s most valuable mineral resources, with output rising significantly in the previous decade, from 12 t in 2011 to 25 t in 2017 and around 32.5 t in 2019.

To support the country’s growing gold mining industry, SGS has opened a new commercial laboratory in Yamoussoukro. The laboratory, equipped with atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and fire assay equipment, provides, SGS says, an extensive range of services related to sample preparation and fire assay analytical testing.

Services include:

  • Au by fire assay with AAS finishing;
  • Au by fire assay with gravimetric finishing;
  • Au by screen fire assay with AAS finishing;
  • Au in carbon by aqua-regia digestion with AAS finishing;
  • Bullion analyses with gravimetric finishing;
  • Other base metals by aqua-regia digestion with AAS finishing;
  • Au in solution by AAS;
  • Specific gravity by gravimetric finishing;
  • Bulk density with paraffin wax by displacement; and
  • Physical tests: pH.

Strategically located in central Ivory Coast, the Yamoussoukro laboratory is close to key mining exploration sites. SGS employees are on hand seven days a week, supporting discoveries for greenfield as well as brownfield projects by providing full fire assay analyses with quick turnaround times, the company said.

Aurelien Nguessan, Laboratory Manager, said: “SGS can now offer mining exploration companies in Ivory Coast complete support, going above and beyond our existing sample preparation capabilities. It’s an exciting time for the industry – and for the country as a whole.”

This new laboratory will complement the services already offered by SGS’ commercial geochemistry labs in the region, including those in Tarkwa (Ghana), Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Nussir to present zero-emission mining plan at The Electric Mine

Nussir ASA and its ambition to develop the world’s first zero-emission copper mine in Kvalsund, Norway, will end up becoming a case study the whole mining sector learns from.

While some pioneering mining projects are aiming for all-electric operations through the use of battery-electric equipment, Nussir argues its copper project would be the first truly all-electric zero emissions mine in the world as all machines and processes will be powered by renewable energy.

With a brand new (as of January 31, 2022) all-electric feasibility study from SRK in hand, the company is able to outline a project that would involve the development of an underground mine extracting ore from the Nussir and Ulveryggen orebodies. These two have reserves of 162,000 t of contained copper, according to a recent report from the consultants. Total resources, including the inferred resource category, stand at about 80 Mt of ore, according to the company.

SRK is not the only company helping Nussir achieve its vision. It has signed up Leonard Nilsen og Sonner AS (LNS) to carry out potentially the largest mining contract in Norwegian history with 130 km of tunnelling over 10 years; as well as worked with leading OEMs on all-electric mobile equipment; Woodgrove on flotation, instrumentation, automation, flowsheet, PID and process design; Metso Outotec on milling; SGS on flotation, grinding and settling test work; Sintef on rock mechanics; and SRK on the mine plan itself, scheduling and capital and operating expenditure calculations.

Øystein Rushfeldt, CEO of Nussir

The company has also managed to obtain all necessary permits to start construction of the mine, which is located on the site of a former operating open-pit that ceased operations in 1979; and, importantly, signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Hammerfest Municipality as a way of indicating broad support from local political parties.

With the publication of feasibility study and news of further contracts and financing due in the first half of this year, the news flow and attention is due to ramp up in 2022.

Attendees of The Electric Mine 2022, in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 17-18, can hear all about this from Øystein Rushfeldt, CEO of Nussir, in his presentation ‘Nussir: The path to zero-emission mining’.

For more information about The Electric Mine 2022, please click here: www.theelectricmine.com

Evaluate ore sorting options at prefeasibility study stage, TOMRA’s Rutledge says

TOMRA Mining is making a case for its sensor-based ore sorting solutions to be evaluated earlier in the mining project evaluation phase, with Jordan Rutledge, Area Sales Manager, arguing that consideration of its use at the very beginning of flowsheet discussions can influence up- and down-stream equipment selection.

The company’s sensor-based ore sorting systems have spread across the mining sector, migrating from industrial minerals and diamond operations to base and precious metals.

Speaking at a sensor-based sorting seminar in Toronto, Canada, held late last month, Rutledge (pictured) said the use of the technology needed to be considered early in the mine development scope in order to leverage the most benefit for the operation.

“Sensor-based sorting should be considered in the flowsheet from the beginning and evaluated in prefeasibility studies to see if it is suitable for the project and will add value to the plant,” she said.

“In many cases, sorting works really well and, as we continue to go towards a green economy, the use of our resources is vitally important. In order to make the best use of them, sorting plays a critical role.”

Rutledge, an event organiser and presenter, joined 40 participants from across Canada at the seminar, which included representatives from miners such as Agnico Eagle, Capstone Mining and Cheetah Resources; from laboratories such as testing and certification company SGS and the Saskatchewan Research Council ; from engineering companies such as DRA Global, Primero, CIMA and Halyard; and students from the University of Toronto.

“The event highlighted the important role of sensor-based sorting technologies in green mining and their potential to unlock significant value in mining projects, as well as the possibilities of digitalisation for supporting customers and managing connected equipment,” TOMRA said.

SGS adds Chrysos PhotonAssay services to Australian Minerals Regional Hub

SGS says it is expanding its service delivery in obtaining Chrysos PhotonAssay™ technology as an alternative to traditional fire assay procedures.

The two companies – SGS and Chrysos – have reached an agreement to install a PhotonAssay unit at SGS’s Australian Minerals Regional Hub in Perth, Western Australia.

PhotonAssay provides enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, improving turnaround time, SGS said.

“SGS is at the forefront of innovation excellence in the minerals and mining sectors with leading automation across FTIR, pXRF, NIR and now PhotonAssay, which will support mining and exploration customers with faster, safer and more environmentally friendly analysis,” SGS said.

Chrysos Corporation Chief Executive, Dirk Treasure, said: “Chrysos is excited to be working with the SGS team. The installation of this new PhotonAssay unit at their cutting-edge facility in Perth reflects the desire of both organisations to deliver unparalleled levels of customer service through faster, safer and more sustainable assaying technologies.”

Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, Chrysos PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing rapid and enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements. Importantly, the non-destructive process allows large samples of up to 500 g to be measured and provides a “true” bulk reading independent of the chemical or physical form of the sample, the companies said. The technology is also measurably safer and more environmentally friendly than previous assay processes, aligning with SGS’s core principle of achieving a better, safer, and more interconnected world, SGS said.

Derick Govender, Executive Vice President, Natural Resources, SGS, said: “As the leading testing, inspection, and certification service provider to the mining industry globally, SGS continues to seek new, innovative and sustainable solutions to further enhance our services to our customers. In adopting Chrysos PhotonAssay technology at our Perth facility, SGS will continue to work on further deployments of this technology within our global network. Our team’s technical expertise and insight into our customer`s value chain end-to-end is one of our key advantages that allows us to develop innovative solutions.”

Chrysos Corp has already worked with MinAnalytical, MSALABS and Intertek on deploying PhotonAssay units at labs.

SGS expands Spijkenisse facility on rising metals and minerals testing demand

SGS metals and minerals trade commodities group has started expanding its lab facilities in Spijkenisse, Rotterdam, following a rising demand for testing services.

The company began the construction of its new, state-of-the-art laboratory in April.

This expansion, which is expected to be completed by December 2021, will double the capacity and improve turnaround times of the company’s current operations.

SGS’ laboratory in Spijkenisse, located near the port of Rotterdam, already offers a broad range of testing services for the metals and minerals industry. It performs analyses on non-ferrous and ferrous products such as ores, industrial minerals, concentrates, intermediate products and high-purity metals. Services include, among others, sample preparation, TML/FMP, wet chemistry analysis, XRF, ICP OES, AAS, electrogravimetry and fire assay.

Frans van Croonenborg, SGS Business Manager Natural Resources, Minerals Commodities, Benelux and Germany, said: “By continuing to invest in the laboratory’s facilities, we are committing to increase our operational excellence – provide our customers with fast and wide-ranging testing services. Our employees are excited about the new facility and SGS’s continued commitment to offer the latest technologies to the global industry.”

Kamoa-Kakula copper production kicks off

Ivanhoe Mines has announced the start of copper concentrate production at the Phase 1, 3.8 Mt/y Kamoa-Kakula copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, several months ahead of schedule.

First ore was introduced into the concentrator plant on May 20 to perform initial hot commissioning tests on the ball mills and other processing equipment. The initial mill feed grade reached approximately 4% Cu shortly after start-up.

As of May 25, 5-6% Cu ore was being conveyed directly from Kakula’s underground mining operations to the run-of-mine stockpile and the concentrator. Based on extensive test work, the concentrator is expected to produce a very high-grade, clean concentrate grading approximately 57% Cu, with extremely low arsenic levels, the company says.

Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairman, said: “This is a historic moment for Ivanhoe Mines and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Discovering and delivering a copper province of this scale, grade and outstanding environmental, social and governance credentials, ahead of schedule and on budget, is a unicorn in the copper mining business. This accomplishment reflects the outstanding cooperation of thousands of individuals, and all of our joint-venture partners at Kamoa-Kakula.”

He added: “Although this exploration journey started well over two decades ago, it also is noteworthy that the Kakula deposit itself was discovered a little over five years ago, which is remarkable progress by the mining industry’s glacial standards from first drill hole to a new major mining operation.”

The initiation of production puts Ivanhoe on the path to establish Kamoa-Kakula as the second largest copper mining complex in the world, according to Friedland.

“What really excites our geologists is the profound potential to find additional Kamoa-Kakula-like copper discoveries on our massive Western Foreland exploration licences right next door, in an identical geologic setting,” he said.

Co-Chairman, Miles Sun, added: “The inception of Phase 1 is the birth of a copper complex that will benefit generations to come, and we very much look forward to the upcoming phases of expansion and exploration opportunities.

“Huge congratulations to the entire Ivanhoe Mines team and a roaring applause to all the hard-working suppliers and contractors for collectively completing this mammoth undertaking!”

Ivanhoe’s guidance for contained copper in concentrate expected to be produced by the Kamoa-Kakula project for the balance of 2021 assumes a ramp-up from first production in line with published technical disclosures, with contained copper in concentrate output of 80,000-95,000 t.

In April, the Kakula Mine mined 357,000 t of ore grading 5.7% Cu, including 121,000 t grading 8.4% Cu from the mine’s high-grade centre.

Kakula, Ivanhoe says, is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mt/y, ramping up to 7.6 Mt/y in the September quarter of 2022. Phase 1 is expected to produce approximately 200,000 t/y of copper, and phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 t/y of copper.

Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mt/y would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 t.

Given the current copper price environment, Ivanhoe and its partner Zijin are exploring the acceleration of the Kamoa-Kakula Phase 3 concentrator expansion from 7.6 Mt/y to 11.4 Mt/y, which may be fed from expanded mining operations at Kansoko, or new mining areas at Kamoa North (including the Bonanza Zone) and Kakula West.

The Kamoa-Kakula copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Ltd (0.8%) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (20%).

Alongside this announcement, the company confirmed that Kamoa Copper had appointed Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) CONGO SA, an accredited laboratory service provider, for on-site analytical services. SGS is one of the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification companies. The new assay laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.

Results for various mine, exploration and processing sample types will be reported using a wide range of analytical techniques that are specifically selected to provide accurate and precise results within the time required to efficiently control concentrator and mine processes.

Process control samples will be analysed using portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) devices with a quick turnaround time for concentrator plant monitoring and control. Metal accounting samples will be analysed by using two simultaneous ICP-OES multi-element instruments. The dual measurement mode of the ICP-OES instrumentation enables the analysis of critical elements such as mercury, arsenic, lead, etc by providing high measurement sensitivity while the combination of two-sample digestion methods (fusion and acid digestion) will cover a wide range of analytic levels, Ivanhoe said.

The high-grade copper samples will be analysed using the classical iodide titration method, which provides good accuracy and precision that is required for the dispatch samples, the company said. Convenient and flexible potentiometric auto titrators provide efficient and accurate results that are fully traceable to international methods and standards.

Jervois Mining looks to POX leaching to boost SMP nickel-cobalt refinery recoveries

Jervois Mining says it plans to integrate a pressure oxidation leach (POX) circuit into the São Miguel Paulista nickel-cobalt refinery in Brazil.

Jervois paid the first tranche towards its acquisition of SMP refinery in December after announcing plans to acquire the refinery in September 2020. The acquisition aims to complement its 100%-owned Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the US, transforming Jervois into a vertically integrated producer capable of refining cobalt and nickel.

The company appointed Australia-based Elemental Engineering to commence sysCAD modelling of the SMP refinery flowsheet for optimisation of product integration, including hydroxides and carbonate products, oxides and sulphide concentrates as part of a feasibility study (FS) for SMP’s restart.

As a result of Elemental’s work, Jervois has determined it shall integrate a POX leach circuit at the refinery.

“The inclusion of the POX autoclave offers a number of advantages compared to roasting concentrates, namely high metal recovery, low overall operating costs, enhanced ESG metrics due to lower emissions and energy usage, improved refined product purity and compact installation footprint on site,” the company said. “Preliminary POX sighter testwork at SGS Perth Western Australia, in conjunction with Elemental’s work, returned satisfactory results.”

While POX comes with a higher capital expense than roasting alternatives, it is a commercially demonstrated technology with low technical risk, allowing Jervois to leverage its recently appointed commercial team, Jervois said. A POX autoclave better compliments the refinery flowsheet, unlocks sunk capital by debottlenecking the existing leach capacity and adds significant flexibility to future refinery feed options, it added.

Jervois will process sulphide concentrate produced from ICO via this integrated POX leach circuit, with Jervois’ commercial team actively pursuing supply contracts for nickel and cobalt intermediate products. The introduction of a POX autoclave opens up greater capacity to leach other hydroxide and carbonate feed products to maximise existing refinery capacity, the company said.

Third-party concentrates can also be potentially introduced into the POX to process with Jervois’s ICO concentrates. Early discussions with potential third-party suppliers of sulphide-based concentrates have been positive, with the company now openly engaging with suppliers to optimise the sizing and economics of front-end pre-treatment.

As part of this, a decision has been made to reserve the maximum amount of copper capacity at SMP refinery for third parties. A consequence is that ICO construction is being advanced on the basis of the production of separated cobalt and copper concentrates. Jervois’s engineering advisers, DRA Global and M3 Engineering, completed the ICO BFS on both bulk and separated concentrate flowsheets, with construction plans being implemented based on the production of cobalt concentrate (containing gold and low in copper) and a copper concentrate. Commercial terms were obtained for both separated products as part of the BFS.

Jervois says it and Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), the current owner of the SMP refinery, continue to work expeditiously towards closing Jervois’ acquisition of SMP.

Jervois plans a measured and staged approach to the refinery facility restart. Initial refurbishment works will be completed to progress the processing of intermediate hydroxide and carbonate products followed by the integration of the POX leach circuit to align with ICO commissioning, it said.

Jervois is in discussions with suitably qualified engineering contractors that have the appropriate nickel and cobalt refining experience, have a significant presence in Brazil, and have recently completed a POX and metals plant installation, to award the BFS for the refinery restart. This formal tender process is underway.

Canada Silver Cobalt Works enlists SGS Canada for Re-2OX pilot plant build

Canada Silver Cobalt Works has signed an agreement with SGS Canada Inc to proceed with its Re-2OX pilot plant in Ontario, Canada.

This critical step will allow the company to, it says, accelerate the production of client-specific battery metals for the North American electric vehicle (EV) market, one of its key strategies.

In 2018, SGS Lakefield used the environmentally friendly Re-2OX process to recover 99% of the cobalt and 81% of the nickel from a composite of gravity concentrates while also removing 99% of the arsenic, a long-time issue in this cobalt-rich Cobalt Camp. The gravity concentrates graded 9.25% Co, 5.65% Ni, 49.9% As and 9,250 g/t Ag.

The Re-2OX process, which skips the normal smelting process to create battery-grade cobalt sulphate, was used at SGS to produce a technical-grade cobalt sulphate hexahydrate at 22.6%, directly from cobalt-rich gravity concentrates produced from the first level of Canada Silver Cobalt Works’ Castle mine in the Cobalt Camp. The 22.6% cobalt sulphate compound exceeded the specifications required by battery manufacturers at that time, the company said.

The latest plan calls for SGS to design and build the Stage 1 pilot plant at Lakefield, Ontario. Feed material for this test work will come from the underground at the Castle mine, the high-grade silver discovery Robinson Zone, Beaver and Castle tailings, recycled batteries, and from newly acquired properties.

Management sees the Re-2OX pilot plant as a long-term strategic advantage that will facilitate the production of battery metals for the EV market for many years.

“More importantly, production can be certified as ethically sourced within stringent Canadian environmental standards and traceable verification of a closed-loop supply chain that will ensure this product is highly sought after and could even possibly garner a premium due to source verification,” the company said. “The cobalt ore will come from the Cobalt region including from the Castle property currently being aggressively drilled for high-grade silver and battery metals.”

The company has retained the services of ONSite Labs as an independent contract operator of the Temiskaming Testing Laboratories facility Canada Silver Cobalt Works acquired last year. ONSite is a commercial analytical lab operator.

Over the next four months, ONSite Labs will process samples to prove the ability to produce viable data with the highest standards of quality control, the company said, adding that the lab could be fully operational and open for business by the summer of 2021.

The Castle property is 15 km east of Pan American Silver’s Juby gold deposit, 30 km due south of Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson mine, 75 km southwest of Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa Complex, and 100 km southeast of new gold discoveries in the Timmins West area.

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.