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Routinely testing the output of a plant is a vital, and often undervalued, part of any existing mine’s operations All around the world, mines and processing plants lose thousands of dollars, each and every day, simply by operating at fractions of a percent lower than their optimum yield.
TAILS ARE FOREVER
Almost invariably, if valuable and recoverable mineral is lost to plant tails, it is lost forever, or at least until movements in minerals prices make tails retreatment possible – normally only years later.
The objective of routine output testing is to stop or minimise this loss. Why leave some values to other generations or to mother nature, having gone to such effort to mine and process the ore in the first instance? On the other hand, why “over-process” an ore to maximise recovery at the expense of profit margin?
Ensuring that a plant retains maximum efficiency and profitability is of course a matter of ensuring that the plant components and processes are optimised. However, equipment and processes that are optimised for one ore type or one period of mine life may not necessarily apply to minor changes in ore, and of course may be subject to neglect and complacency.
At Peacocke & Simpson we believe it is critical that ore samples are routinely tested – if only once per year – to ensure that existing processes and expectations still apply, and/or to reveal behavioural changes and allow adjustment of plant parameters.