Pilot Hydrometallurgy & Leaching Pilot Hydrometallurgy & Leaching

Core has a long history in the design, commissioning and operation of complex integrated hydrometallurgical pilot plants.

Hydrometallurgical Pilot Plants

Core specialises in pilot plant trials of complex hydrometallurgical processes.  Core’s expertise in the design and execution of these pilot and demonstration plants significantly de-risks DFS programmes for our clients. Our senior pilot management staff have backgrounds in commercial due-diligence, in addition to their technical hydrometallurgical backgrounds, ensuring pilot programmes have a strong focus on driving out technical parameters & design criteria that will withstand scrutiny from bankers and other stakeholders.

A Pilot Design Package is prepared ahead of each pilot plant, based on process METSIM models, specifying all physical equipment and software systems, operating procedures, sampling schedules and data management and reporting routines. Core has developed sophisticated dynamic modelling tools to enable evaluation and review of pilot flowsheets ahead of their construction and execution.  This modelling is pilot specific, and reflects the subtle differences between a full scale plant and a demonstration or pilot plant.

Core can mobilise any hydrometallurgical pilot plant configuration, and has built and operated demonstration plants up to a 2000 L tank / 5 tpd scale.  We specialise in precise control of flows, especially in low-volume low-flow continuous integrated pilot plants.

Core’s knowledge of metal solution chemistry ensures that our process engineers and analytical chemists unlock an understanding of the steady-state chemistry achieved in pilot plants.   Our process engineers work hard to identify the effects of impurity build up with recirculation and address their implications during the execution of pilot plants.

Whether your project requires a pilot plant to trial a new process, or a full scale demonstration plant, contact Core today to discuss your project with us.

Core has pilot plant experience across a range of leaching flowsheets. Selected recent projects include:


Project Company Ore Type Pilot Plant
Confidential Confidential Chalcopyrite Concentrate Leach + Fe Precipitation + Cu Precipitation 240 kg across 15 days
Zod GPM Gold LLC Refractory Gold Sulphide Ore Oxidation + CIL Cyanide Leaching 700 kg across 30 days
Copperbalt Xstrata Copper Copper Sulphide Tailings Acid oxidative leach + SX/EW 750 kg
Tampakan Glencore Enargite-rich Copper Concentrate Leach + POx + As Precipitation 1,500 kg across 34 days

Core has an extensive equipment inventory available to support any hydrometallurgical leaching pilot programme:


Process Pilot Equipment Laboratory Equipment
Atmospheric Leach & Neutralisation Extensive inventory of 316 & 2205 stainless steel tanks from 2 L to 1,000 L, most available for pilot configuration;
Overhead stirrers, mixers and variable speed drives to suit.
Integrated Endress & Hauser pH control systems
15 m3 GFRP Gas Scrubber & pilot fume extraction system
Pressure Oxidation 18.75 L Parr Autoclave 2 & 5 L Parr Pressure Autoclaves & blast room. Titanium and SS reactor inserts
Rheology, Thickening & Dewatering Bank of digitally controlled pressure filters
1.4 m Ø standard thickener with rakes
11 plate 470 x 470 Netzsch Plate & Frame filter
0.3 m2 pilot scale DrM Fundabac filter
Various laboratory filters <10 L
Vacuum filtration
Bohlin viscometer
Brookfield viscometer
Pilot Dedicated 180 m2 bunded pilot hydrometallurgy area, draining to onsite 6,000 L tailings management facility.
2.0 t overhead gantry crane spanning entire pilot area.
Pilot leach train scaffolding & continuous circuit support.
Pilot slurry control ring main
Process Control Advantech AdamView SCADA system integrated into all pilot equipment.

Core has the equipment, expertise and flexibility

to conduct first class pilot trials across a range of flowsheets including:

  • Acidic leaching of copper, gold, zinc and nickel sulphide concentrates
  • Acidic/Alkaline leaching of rare earth concentrates
  • High pressure acid leaching (HPAL) of nickel laterites
  • Cyanide leaching of gold/silver ores and concentrates
  • Chloride based leaching of copper and gold concentrates
  • Atmospheric leaching of zinc and copper oxide ores

  • Atmospheric oxidative leaching of refractory ores and concentrates (The Albion ProcessTM)
  • Pressure oxidative (POx) leaching of refractory ores and concentrates
  • Bacterial oxidative leaching of refractory ores and concentrates
  • Ammoniacal leaching of copper concentrates or cobalt/nickel ores and concentrates