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Pilot Plants

SGS’s experienced metallurgical professionals develop bankable flowsheets for environmentally sustainable metal and mineral extraction circuits. Such flowsheets can be demonstrated and confirmed at SGS laboratories by pilot plant. These programmes are key ways to mitigate technical risk and are internationally recognised by the mining, engineering and financial communities.

Pilot plant testing is used to demonstrate and confirm that the flowsheet developed at the bench is viable. SGS pilot plants are unique in that they operate in an integrated fashion, all unit operations work to provide continuous feed or product typically resulting in the generation of a concentrate or LME-grade metal. Bleed streams and impurity build-ups are also reviewed. Pilot plants are performed at a variety of scales, typically ranging from < 100 kg/hr to > 1 tonne/hr.

For new projects, piloting demonstrates operational viability, “proof-of-concept”, and produces market samples of the final product that can be expected, thus reducing technical risk. Piloting also generates metallurgical data that can be used to design the full-scale plant, thus reducing design and capital risk.

Existing operations can also be simulated at the pilot-scale to evaluate new equipment or technology, assess the impact of different ore types or troubleshoot problems without interrupting production at the main plant.

Our professional experts have the expertise to perform a range of pilot plant activities:

  • Demonstration of operational viability for stakeholders
  • Bulk sample preparation
  • Mini bulk / DMS plant operation

Typical activities that can be undertaken during pilot testing include:

  • Establish flowsheet viability. This is especially important for complex deposits, those utilising new or unusual technologies or projects that are located in high-risk areas
  • Demonstrate continuous integrated operation to stakeholders
  • Evaluate the impact of local water supply
  • Develop a water balance
  • Quantify the impact of ore variability
  • Produce byproducts for specialised testing (e.g. environmental assessments)
  • Generate bulk samples for market evaluation
  • Train critical mill staff

Pilot testing is the best way to:

  • Prove critical components of a metallurgical flowsheet
  • Establish the viability of new equipment or technology
  • Verify the ability to meet environmental requirements
  • Minimise technical, environmental, operational and commercial risk

Pilot plants can have a significant impact on the metallurgical success of your project, provided they are well planned and operated properly. SGS has the complex and integrated infrastructure including on-site analytical, mineralogical and trade support, experienced professionals and a comprehensive equipment inventory, that is required to provide you with an effective pilot plant. Partner with SGS for more confidence in your metallurgical response and recovery.

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