Tag Archives: SGS

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.

SGS to bring Glencore Technology’s Albion Process testing to Africa mining market

SGS Minerals is to offer Glencore Technology’s Albion Process™ test work to mining companies in Africa after the two extended an agreement and certification related to the hydrometallurgical process.

While SGS already has a relationship with Glencore Technology through SGS Lakefield – through an agreement signed last year – the extension opens up the potential for more large packages of work of “high relevance and value”, Glencore Technology says.

“For Glencore Technology, it extends further the global reach of Albion Process test work as it has grown 300% in the last 12-24 months and is seen as uniquely viable in terms of capital costs, operational costs and project feasibility,” the company said.

The new test work locations will now include Randberg in South Africa, with other locations being discussed elsewhere around the world, according to Glencore Technology.

The Albion Process uses a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure to work. It also tolerates a more variable feed and lower grade than other processes, according to Glencore Technology, meaning it can make some projects feasible and profitable where alternative technologies could not. The sulphides in the feed are oxidised and valuable metals liberated, with the economic metals recovered by conventional downstream processing. Test work requires only small sample masses with no pilot plant, Glencore Technology says.

The process has produced high recoveries in refractory gold and in base metal concentrates at the six Albion Process plants in operation across the globe, according to the company.

Glencore Technology’s Paul Voigt said: “The extension to Africa has been under discussion for quite some time. We know the importance of local contact and context. It’s also part of a wider focus we have for the African continent.”

SGS’ Niels Verbaan, said: “This is a natural and highly relevant extension of our work with Glencore Technology on Albion Process test work. We look forward to a larger global footprint to help operations in Africa and the Americas, especially those with complex mineralogies, to get an objective opinion on process options.”

SGS is the third certified provider of test work, joining Core Resources in Australia and TOMS Institute in Russia.

ValeOre Metals considering Platsol, Falcon separator, Steinert ore sorting for Pedra Branca

ValeOre Metals Corp’s Pedra Branca platinum group element (PGE) project, in north-eastern Brazil, looks increasingly like leveraging the Platsol™ high temperature pressure leaching process judging by the latest test work.

Metallurgical results from sample material collected from outcrops at the Trapia and Curiu deposits areas at Pedra Branca for two preliminary Platsol tests conducted at SGS Lakefield, Ontario, have shown recoveries of 93.4-93.6% for palladium and 95.3-95.7% for platinum were achieved.

The company now plans two additional Platsol tests, to be performed by SGS, to determine the effects of adding elemental sulphur to the autoclave to optimise conditions required for PGE and gold recoveries, it said.

Platsol is a high temperature (>200°C) pressure leaching process designed to recover PGEs, gold and base metals. It has been shown to be particularly effective with PGE ore feeds characterised by high concentrations of chromium and low concentrations of sulphide, much like Pedra Branca, according to ValeOre Metals. The PGEs and gold are solubilised as chloro-complexes by the addition of chloride salt to the autoclave, while base metal sulphides are oxidised to form soluble metal sulphate complexes. The precious metals can be recovered directly from the autoclave discharge slurry by carbon absorption, or by precipitation with sulphide ions.

Platsol consists of standard, proven traditional technologies that are in use in mines around the world, according to the company.

The Platsol tests are part of a comprehensive mineralogical evaluation ongoing at SGS to characterise the speciation of palladium and platinum in Pedra Branca mineralisation to guide future process optimisation initiatives.

As part of this, the company is continuing with Falcon Ultrafine gravity separation test work as a potential pre-concentration circuit to upgrade feed material and improve mass pull.

The company has also initiated hot cyanide leach test work to assess the recovery rates of palladium, platinum and gold in a cyanide leaching process, and will shortly commence shipment of 100 representative chip samples from historic drilling at the Esbarro deposit to Steinert’s facility in Minas Gerais, to evaluate the potential of sensor-based ore sorting test work.

ValOre’s Chairman and CEO, Jim Paterson, said: “The pace of success at Pedra Branca has increased dramatically in the last three months, including today’s release of PGE metallurgical recovery rates of in excess of 93% for palladium and 95% for platinum using the Platsol process.

“Together with an aggressive property-wide exploration program, we are now focused on rapidly optimising the conditions, procedures and processes to further maximise the upside potential of the Pedra Branca project.”

Los Andes Copper confirms dry stacked tailings plan at Vizcachitas

Los Andes Copper has received results from the ongoing prefeasibility metallurgical study on its Vizcachitas copper project which, consistent with all prior test work conducted, confirms the adoption of dry stacked tailings at the Chile asset.

During 2020, Los Andes has continued metallurgical testing at the SGS laboratory in Santiago, Chile. The test work was carried out on representative samples from locked cycle flotation tailings that reproduce the expected particle size distribution for the coarse and fine tailings fractions at Vizcachitas, it explained.

The planned prefeasibility study (PFS) system for the water recovery is to use vacuum belts for the coarse tailings and pressure filters for the fine tailings. The filtration rates for coarse fraction vacuum filtration are between 1.8-2.0 t/h/sq.m and the fine fraction pressure filtration rates between 0.5-0.6 t/h/sq.m. The expected average filtered cake moisture is between 15-18%, confirming that the Vizcachitas ore is amenable to being filtered and dry stacked.

As the PFS advances, the decision to implement filtered tailings for dry stacking reflects the commitment of Vizcachitas to become one of the early adopters of the environmental friendly technology that will guide global mining in the future, Los Andes said.

Filtration reduces water consumption by 50% when compared with thickened tailings disposal alternatives (60-70% reduction when compared to traditional disposal alternatives), according to the company. Furthermore, filtered tailings can be handled by trucks, conveyors and shovels, as other solid bulk materials, eliminating the need for the construction and operation of a tailings dam.

“The latter is a milestone in operational flexibility and safety standards of particular relevance in a seismic country such as Chile,” the company said.

Fernando Porcile, Executive Chairman, said: “The verification that dry stacked filtered tailings is a viable option for Vizcachitas puts us on the forefront of environmentally responsible practices being adopted for the future of sustainable mining globally.

“Water conservation is high on the agenda for many mining companies, especially in Chile, and therefore the fact that we can reduce our water consumption by approximately 60-70% by using this method is a really positive development.

“This is a proven technology which is now being carried over into Tier One copper projects and I am excited that we will be one of the first, large scale, copper mines to utilise it.”

Nippon Dragon’s thermal fragmentation tech gets to work at Rocmec 1

Nippon Dragon Resources says it is using its thermal fragmentation technology on the Talus vein at its Rocmec 1 gold mine, in Quebec, Canada.

In a progress report this week, Nippon Dragon said thermal fragmentation operations had begun on the Talus vein – “probably a secondary sub parallel branch structure to the McDowell vein”, the company says – where grades range from 0.03-61.58 g/t Au and widths vary from 0.05-3.04 m, according to sampling.

Alongside this, the company said development of a raise and a sub-level on level 39 within the Talus mineralised structure had started from level 50. At the same time, development of two drifts in the mineralised vein on level 50 of the McDowell structure, which has the longest gold-bearing structure on the property, had begun.

It added: “Employee training on the thermal fragmentation units continues in an accelerated mode.”

Nippon has an exclusive licence for the thermal fragmentation mining process for narrow vein mining. The process involves drilling a series of 6 in (15 cm) pilot holes into the vein with a conventional drill. Thermal fragmentation (thermal head, compressed air and water) is then inserted and spalls the rock, quickly increasing the diameter of the hole to 30-110 cm. After this, ore can be extracted in 0-13 mm fragments. The leftover rock between fragmented holes is then broken to recover the remaining ore.

This precision allows for the extraction of high-grade precious and base metal veins without dilution, according to Nippon.

To date, Nippon Dragon has invested approximately C$33 million ($25 million) in rehabilitating the Rocmec 1 property, surface and underground infrastructure, diamond drilling, equipment and drifting. The property includes a 100 m deep two compartment shaft, an 844 m decline allowing access to five levels (50, 70, 90, 110 and 130 m). On these levels, a total of 1,700 m (drifts and cross-cut drifts) were driven.

A 2010 NI 43-101 report by SGS using a cutoff grade of 3 g/t Au reported a measured and indicated mineral resources of 570,300 t grading 6.52 g/t for 119,500 oz of gold and 1.51 Mt of inferred resources at 7.4 g/t Au for 359,600 oz of gold.

Ausenco to lead First Cobalt refinery restart study

First Cobalt Corp, following a finance agreement with Glencore, has started to award key contracts to complete a 55 t/d feasibility study on the proposed expansion of its cobalt refinery.

Field work is expected to commence in September and will culminate in the delivery of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) in the March quarter, the company said.

Ausenco Engineering Canada will lead the preparation of a DFS for a refinery restart at 55 t/d with SGS carrying out advanced metallurgical test work on cobalt hydroxide and a specialty cobalt feed to be supplied by Glencore, Knight Piésold conducting tailings studies in support of the DFS, Story Environmental taking on the environmental and permitting aspects of the engineering studies and Glencore providing technical support throughout the study phase through its Sudbury-based affiliate, XPS – Expert Process Solutions.

In addition to the delivery of the DFS on a 55 t/d refinery restart, a prefeasibility study (PFS) on a 12 t/d interim operating scenario will also be conducted.

First Cobalt recently announced it had entered into a $5 million loan facility with Glencore to complete advanced engineering, metallurgical testing, field work and permitting associated with a recommissioning and expansion of the refinery. Upon completion of a positive DFS for the expansion, and subject to certain other terms and conditions, Glencore is prepared to advance an additional $40 million to recommission and expand the refinery, according to First Cobalt.

Trent Mell, First Cobalt President & CEO, said: “The First Cobalt Refinery is a permitted facility that is in excellent condition and has a recent operating history. Our strategy is to work with Glencore to expand the refinery to serve the growing needs of the North American electric vehicle market. To that end, we have partnered with a first-rate study team appropriate for the importance of the task at hand.”

SGS pairs portable instrumentation and machine learning with FAST

SGS has announced a new service for the metals and mining industry, Field Analytical Services and Testing (FAST), in North America and Australia.

FAST provides real-time data acquisition in the field by pairing portable instrumentation and machine learning, according to the company, which used the backdrop of the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada show, in Toronto, Canada, to make the announcement. “It will bring instrumentation into the field, provide data within 24 to 48 hours and, with the use of machine-learning, enable real-time decision-making capabilities for clients,” the company said.

Part of the solution includes Minalyze AB’s Minalyzer ED-XRF core scanning technology, according to the company.

Russ Calow, Vice President Global Analytical Services, Minerals at SGS in Canada, said: “This service offering will allow our clients to optimise their exploration programmes and production procedures, while making rapid decisions that support quicker speed-to-market.

“SGS is committed to providing analytical procedures that yield meaningful, reliable data – while integrating our in-house, industry leading machine-learning capabilities to give innovative, field based solutions to our clients.”

SGS calls itself the global leader in the geochemical laboratory analytical testing sector with over 160 geochemical laboratories in 45 countries. Its FAST solution reflects a commitment to servicing the mining and smelting industries throughout the entire value chain, leveraging leading technologies, according to the company.

“SGS operates on-site and near-site laboratories in some of the most remote locations in the world, regardless of the climate, the altitude, the logistics or the sample volume,” the company said.

“Whether requirements are at the mine site or in metal smelting and refining plants, SGS has the experience, technical solutions and laboratory professionals to help clients maximize value from their operations and reach their goals efficiently and effectively.”

SGS services to the minerals sector include geochemical analysis, resource calculation, mineralogy, metallurgy, engineering, process design and engineering, process control, water treatment and trade services.

SGS to demo real-time field data acquisition solution at PDAC convention

SGS, a leading certification, inspection and testing service provider for the global metals and mining industry, says it will announce the launch of a new real-time field data acquisition solution at the upcoming PDAC 2019 convention in Toronto, Canada.

The solution pairs portable instrumentation and machine learning to significantly speed up turnaround time for field data, enabling clients with enhanced decision-making capabilities and quicker speed-to-market, SGS said.

The solution, being launched in North America and Australia, will be on show at a demonstration at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on March 5 in a demonstration involving Peta Hughes, Project Manager, Global Geochemistry, SGS Canada, and Matthew Rees, Chief Geologist, IAMGold.