ALS provides vital process flowsheet operating data for engineering design, scale-up purposes, process plant upgrade and production of marketing samples.
Bench scale or batch testwork have inherent shortcomings that can limit the usefulness of data for process plant design. These shortcomings arise from the inherent operating differences between batch-operated laboratory equipment and procedures, and those of a full scale continuous process plant. Factors might include:
- Particle size distribution
- Influence of process and reaction time
- Effect of process machinery size on process plant performance
- Behaviour and disposition of by-products and unfinished fractions such as middlings, scavenger concentrates, or cleaner tailings
- Implication of recirculating streams carrying ore and reagents
- Limitations associated with the quality of samples available for bench scale testwork
Pilot plants can be used to examine alternative process flowsheets, and produce con-centrates and other products for downstream process design testwork such as pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processing of concentrates. Pilot plants are also used for the study of instrumentation and control units within a specified process plant, and to evaluate speciality equipment such as ultrafine milling machines and high pressure grinding rolls.
ALS has comprehensive pilot plant equipment that can be assembled to suit most operations. All pilot plant equipment and circuits have been designed over many years of piloting experience, and with in-depth consultation with mining and process engineering clients and industry partners. Data generated from pilot plants provides a high degree of confidence in the full-scale process plant design criteria and ensures the feasibility study is truly bankable.
In hydrometallurgical processes, recycled solutions, electrolytes, and organics must be studied for days to detect the accumulation of undesirable contaminants. The inclusion of a pilot plant test program during the study phase of such process operations is crucial.
ALS has extraction processing pilot plant installations for a variety of minerals and commodities including:
- Heap Leach Amenability Column Testing Pilot Plants
- High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) Pilot Plant
- Atmospheric Leach Pilot Plant
- Continuous Pilot and Mini Pilot Scale Leaching Circuits
- Ion Exchange Resin Pilot Plants
- Solvent Extraction Pilot Plants
An extensive range of ancillary and support services supports our bench and pilot programs. ALS has state-of-the-art in-house analytical facilities, with personnel experienced in the accurate analysis and measurement of metallurgical testwork products, including radionuclide concentrations.
These analytical facilities are critical to the performance of extractive metallurgical pilot plants, with rapid turn-around of high precision and high quality analytical results from spot and survey samples removed during pilot operation.
ALS also offers supporting services such as QEMSCAN®, X-Ray Diffraction, HyLogger™, and optical microscopy techniques to complement bench and pilot scale metallurgical studies.
Mineral processing forms an integral part of metallurgical process plants. The production of mineral concentrates and other product streams of correct physical and chemical characteristics for downstream extraction processing can make or break a project. A pilot plant is can be the best way to demonstrate and confirm the best flowsheet design for production.
ALS has an extensive range of mineral processing pilot plant equipment to suit a variety of circuit flowsheets, either as unit operations or in combination with other equipment. These include:
- Pilot SABC (AG/SAG) up to 4tph
- High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR)
- Flotation Pilot Plants
- Spiral Concentrator Pilot Plant
- Pilot Dense Media Separation (DMS) Plant
- Allmineral Pilot Jig
- Low Intensity Magnetic Separation (LIMS)
- Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS)
- Materials handling testing including Transfer Modelling Pilot Plants