It’s an understatement to say that the mining industry is experiencing a seismic shift in the way it does business. While the industry anticipated that the world population boom would cause heightened demand for minerals, it was innovators at FLSmidth who foresaw and prepared for intense competition for expertise and process-oriented solutions by launching our new FLSmidth® Minerals Testing Center.
The flagship of our Minerals Testing Center is the new Ore Characterization and Process Mineralogy Laboratories which are complemented by expanded services offered by our FLSmidth Dawson Metallurgical Laboratories.
“Exploration, mine development, and operations are undergoing major changes in this century”, said Wolfgang Baum, Ore Characterization Lab Director. “We have anticipated the challenges our customers face today, and built modern, rapid turnaround diagnostic laboratories”.
Baum compares the labs to modern intensive care units in hospitals, “In our labs, we offer fast emergency lab assistance and rapid diagnostic analysis for geology, processing, and product control”.
Daunting modern challenges
Today’s mining operators are challenged with ores that are lower grade, harder, deeper, reagent consuming, finer grained and metallurgically complex. Making things even more difficult is the need for dramatic reductions in steel wear, energy, water, and environmental liability. Our customers also face higher throughput and smaller footprint operations while needing remote and autonomous mining and automation throughout, beginning with drilling and extending through laboratories to process plants.
“To be competitive, mining companies seek ore characterisation and geo-metallurgical testing and modelling”, said Baum. “The ore deposits mined in the future will not forgive even small errors let alone negligence in thorough ore characterisation or process flow sheeting”.
That’s where the FLSmidth Minerals Testing Center comes in. Our labs represent a combination of early sales reconnaissance and customer contact, an assurance for better and more reliable process design and post-installation support for FLSmidth plant sales. For the mining customer, our labs are a combination of early genetic decoding of their ever more complex ore deposits in regard to minerals, alteration, comminution, and treatment characteristics.
Our capabilities as described in the preceding paragraph combined with the separation lab, pilot operations, and the chemical analytic lab rounds up under the Minerals Testing Center. These competencies are located in one building with our process engineers, design engineers, product experts, plant experts, project managers, field service engineers, and customer service professionals which gives us a leg up as a unique mineral processing technology centre. The competitive advantage and convenience for our customers are major draws.
Expertise under one roof
The FLSmidth Dawson Metallurgical Laboratories and the Ore Characterization and Process Mineralogy Laboratories are staffed with experienced mineralogists, metallurgists, and process engineers who represent more than 300 years of cumulative mining company and operations experience. The 40 largest mining companies which represent more than USD 380bn of capital projects as well as midsize and smaller mining companies constitute a new business focus for FLSmidth which specialises in copper, gold, molybdenum, iron ore, coal, and other commodities.
FLSmidth is well aware of and able to address today’s challenges. Today’s mining industry needs equipment manufacturing and plant engineering that addresses the efficiency of larger equipment, accommodates high throughput operations, has the ability to move some process systems underground, and has the ability to build complex plants quickly. Also in today’s world, process design and the selection of process equipment are more than ever governed by the complex ore feeds and mineralogical variations. Underground operations demand precision in ore classification for pre-treatment and sorting, innovation processing, and lowest power and water use. High throughput processing hinges on continuous plant surveys and mineralogical and metallurgical troubleshooting.
The FLSmidth Ore Characterization and Process MineralogyLaboratories offer:
- Exploration and mine site geology support
- Geo-metallurgy for large drilling projects
- Flow sheet development
- Support for metallurgical testing plus pilot plants
- Mineralogical services for plant re-starts, expansions, and optimisation
- Bio leach support
- Environmental characterisation and technology support
For customers seeking metallurgical services, the enhanced FLSmidth Dawson Metallurgical Laboratories provide:
- Flowsheet development
- Process surveys/optimisation
- Sample preparation
- Gravity concentration
- Magnetic separation
- Flotation separation
- Gravity concentration for free milling gold recovery
- Agitation cyanide leaching for milling applications
- Column leach testing for gold heap leach applications
- Carbon testing for gold recovery
- Refractory gold testing
- Gold association and characterisation
Our Minerals Testing Center has a wide range of analytical capabilities, liquid/solid separation labs on six continents, and pilot equipment to support unit operations testing at a customer’s site.
In cooperation with FLSmidth Automation, the Minerals Testing Center is also planning the installation of an Automated QCX/RoboLab® Mineralogy module in Salt Lake City. This module will handle large ore characterisation projects (hundreds to thousands of samples) and serve as a show-case system for customer demonstrations and visits.
CONTACT: Wolfgang Baum