Tag Archives: Starkey & Associates

Starkey’s SAGDesign comminution testing solution to be used at major miner’s project

Starkey & Associates says it has arranged a sole source $1 million value contract with a major international mining company looking for geometallurgical ore hardness testing using its patented SAGDesign solution for process plant design.

The company in question is developing two orebodies and requires this testing to design SAG mills using data from the entire orebody for each plant. The goal is to size the initial SAG mills and related process equipment to maximise profits for each life of mine operation.

To do this before any equipment is purchased, ore grades and hardness test results (which control capacity) must be kriged into the mine plan. That will allow the whole operation to be designed, first by optimising the initial equipment capital costs and then by maximising the profits in the plant constructed, as metal prices vary during normal market cycles, Starkey said.

Starkey says it has developed the most accurate ore hardness test (SAGDesign) that uses 15 kg drill core samples with accuracy within +/- 5% and repeatability of +/- 3%. This technology has been patented and used since 2004 to design AG and SAG mills with no failures in achieving specified grinding capacity, the company claims. It has also been used in Russia since 2006 on almost every SAG mill design project, until February 2022, when Starkey’s cordial agreement with TOMS was halted by war.

To better introduce its technology in North America, Starkey will sell several Master Licences (MLs) to major mining companies that will forgive clients paying royalties for the SAGDesign tests that they do, it explained. One ML has been sold in the USA and royalty-free testing has started. All 16 Starkey partner test labs will benefit from MLs because ore hardness test work will increase. Companies who do not buy MLs will continue to pay for tests including royalties payable to Starkey.

Starkey said: “Mining companies are realising that since an orebody is their biggest asset, and the advent of accurate ore hardness testing data is available, that the era of testing minimal holes, designing for constant hardness and never questioning original mine designs, has changed for large mining projects. Mining operations are becoming more sensitive to metal pricing while at the same time optimising their equipment capital expenditure, plant operating expenses and ore reserves. For example, it may be better to run low-grade soft ore at high t/h, when metal prices are high. Most plant designs and t/h forecasting to date have not used such detailed analysis because previous hardness data was not accurate enough to use in this way.

“SAGDesign testing is practical and accepted by clients. It has also been used effectively where legal challenges are involved.”