High quality metallurgical testing is a key part of the overall development of a mining project. If conducted poorly, predicted recoveries may be inaccurate or the process too complex to be economically viable. It is therefore vital that the testing undertaken is conducted to the highest standard with consideration made not only on metallurgical performance but overall project economics.

Operating from our Mineral Processing plant based in Cornwall, our team of metallurgists, mineralogists and analytical chemists have extensive experience in the testing of a wide range of ores and commodities from across the world and have the capabilities to test samples ranging in size from a few kilograms for initial bench scale scoping studies up to several tonnes for bankable feasibility studies and pilot plant campaigns.

Defining the optimum processing methodology that is specifically tailored to a deposit and the ore to be processed is a major step in turning a mineral resource into an operating mine.

By drawing on our extensive experience, we can recommend an appropriate testing solution whether it be an initial scoping study on a previously untested ore or a full feasibility level study as part of the final stages of project development.

Our capabilities are wide-ranging and allow us to test a range of different processing solutions including froth flotation, hydrometallurgy, gravity processing, magnetic and electrostatic separation along with sensor-based sorting.

The chemical analysis of test products is a critical part of any metallurgical test programme. Our in-house facilities are therefore designed to provide high-quality results in the shortest possible timeframe to minimise any potential for delay and ensure that your test work programme is completed on time.

Our capabilities include modern technologies including Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Inductive Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy (ICP), LECO analysis, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), spectrophotometry along with classical wet methods for a range of elements.

Understanding the mineralogical characteristics of an orebody is a key part of establishing the optimal processing conditions. By accurately defining the mineralogical properties of an ore both at the beginning and throughout a test work programme, it is possible to develop processing solutions that are tailored to the specific requirements of the material being treated, thus improving process efficiency and reducing risk.

Wardell Armstrong is able to provide a wide range of mineralogical solutions including:

  • optical mineralogy;
  • x-ray diffraction (XRD);
  • electron microprobe; and
  • automated mineralogy using both ZEISS Mineralogic and QEMSCAN systems.

The energy used during the crushing and grinding of an ore accounts for one of the most significant costs within any mining operation. It is therefore critical that the energy requirements in terms of ore hardness are fully understood, even at an early stage during project development and used to optimise the comminution design.

WAI can provide a range of standard comminution tests including JK Drop Weight, SAGDesign and Bond Index testing to fully quantify grinding energy requirements at all levels from initial scoping through to a full definitive feasibility study.

The ability to test a flowsheet both continuously and on a larger scale is an important part of the feasibility level assessment of a mining project, both to verify the results of the preceding bench scale testing and to generate products either for commercial appraisal or subsequent testing.

Using our modular pilot plant and a large inventory of processing equipment, we are able to offer a purpose-built solution that exactly replicates the proposed processing flowsheet and operating conditions developed in the lab, thus reducing any potential variation resulting from scale-up or changes to the process flowsheet.

Our pilot plant capabilities include:

  • multi-stage crushing and grinding;
  • classification;
  • froth flotation;
  • gravity;
  • hyrdometallurgy; and
  • magnetic separation processes.

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