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Don’t see what you need or are unsure about some of the services and associated requirements?

Piloting is arguably the most challenging (and rewarding) elements of metallurgical testwork, and so we are happy to help walk you through the process. Or you might know exactly what you want and just need some clarifications.


Pilot operations

Proving viability of continuous processing

Bench scale testwork provides a raft of project design and operational criteria. However, the majority of green-fields projects will eventually need to undergo continuous piloting to ascertain the effect of recirculating streams and prove the process can reach, and sustain continuous equilibrium. Another important objective of a pilot plant is to produce product mass for further testwork and marketing purposes. These are critical project milestones and clients need a reliable provider with the necessary capability and expertise to deliver their projects to completion. ALS is that provider.


Proven track record with huge equipment inventory

Industrial processing plants are engineered for purpose. Pilot plants are not, and thus the plant set up is intricate and requires great innovation to cater for sampling, low flowrates versus particle size distribution, and mismatching unit processes. ALS has a dedicated team of metallurgists and technicians who are expert in pilot operations. With one of the largest equipment inventories in the world, this capability has been proven over decades and hundreds of pilot campaigns, many of which have successfully gone on to construction and operation.

Fábrica de flutuação

Piloting Testwork Services

Every pilot plant is different. For this reason, ALS chooses a modular (skid-mounted) approach to pilot plant set-up to effectively allow unlimited options. Each of the skids, plant modules, or proprietary equipment items must be connected via pipes and pumps, and at times decoupled by surge tanks and/or stop points requiring full dewatering and drying. Set-up needs to be as ergonomic as possible to allow for safety, sampling, and resources. If we don’t have the exact equipment in our inventory, then usually there is an engineering/fabrication solution, purchase/hiring of new equipment, or leveraging of alliances with vendors (e.g. Eriez, Outotec-Metso, Tomra, Köeppern). We always work something out.

Broad pilot plant set-ups fall into the following categories (click on the links for more detail):

One critical element of testing common to all pilot plant is sampling and monitoring, together with all of the infrastructure to process the samples and data collection. ALS has the complete capability to facilitate all requirement of sampling, from drying, preparation, sizing, analysis, and dispatch to third parties.

ALS always keeps sample representivity in mind when designing the sample process and taking the samples from the plant/process. Representative samples lead to statistical veracity and ultimately to a meaningful mass balance properly capturing plant performance at the target product specification. Wherever possible, ALS uses the principal of cutting full stream for a significant time (for flowrate streams) or using proven sampling techniques (i.e. Cone and Quartering, Riffle Splitting, and/or rotary sample dividers) for bulk solids parcels).

Typical pilot sampling requirements are as follows:

  • Head samples
  • Sizing samples
  • Control grab samples
  • Shift Composite
  • Survey samples
  • Reagent additions
  • Probe monitoring
  • Engineering/vendor samples

Finally, it comes down to mass reconciliation. We understand the importance of your samples, and from hard lessons that were learned in the early days. ALS takes extraordinary care in capturing and measuring every stream. Spillages and losses (e.g. to dust and moisture) are unavoidable, but strict sample collection and measuring control, ALS routinely has mass reconciliation at 99.5% (i.e. 0.5% unaccounted loss).

Here are some frequently asked questions