An Australian gold mine can now conduct gold assays on site at their carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant using an on site assay laboratory with customised processes commissioned by Core.
The new laboratory will allow on-site metallurgists to make near real time assessments and immediate informed decisions to optimise the CIL circuit. On site testing means staff can see assays on cyanide solutions from the CIL circuit within half an hour of sampling, saving between two and four days of waiting for results from previous off site testing
Core was able to commission the analytical equipment, develop the customised laboratory processes and train staff to conduct the techniques in just over a month, from mid November to December 2015.
During this time, Core’s ICP|AAS Team Leader Kellan Poplawski and Laboratory Manager Phillip Whittle travelled to the site, to assess the existing facilities, and get a sense of the site’s exact requirements. They also developed the assay methods using routine samples from the mine, and returned to site to conduct training with technicians over a five day period.
Kellan said lab techs Matt, Nobbit, and Tammy, picked up the techniques very quickly, in short one to two hour sessions over the five days. But the project was not without its challenges.
“Some constraints on site meant we had challenges to overcome in designing the process. Solid samples are normally roasted in a furnace to remove any sulphide material, before being digested in Aqua Regia (a combination of hydrochloric and nitric acid) then analyzed on a Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS). The site couldn’t justify buying a furnace, so we had to look at other options for removing the sulphide. We found a pretty easy solution where we were able to simply combine the aqua regia prior to the digest, and increase our volumes.”
“We now have an even better understanding of the staff time required for on site training, so companies can schedule exactly the right amount of time for their lab staff, which will make similar projects in the future even more efficient for Core clients.”
Core has smart people with long operational histories who can help sites in all aspects of their laboratory management. Contact us today about your site’s needs.