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BHP expands automation mineral analysis capability

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BHP Billiton has purchased two Intellection mineral analysis systems to be installed in its Newcastle Technology Centre (NTC) in December 2005.

The acquisitions include a two detector QEMSCAN system and a QEMSCAN-ready SEM to complement the QEMSCAN system. BHP Billiton's NTC is a world renowned facility and the acquisition will add further muscle to their technological cache.

"BHP Billiton Technology has a strong record of achievement in process innovation and process improvement and works closely with our clients around the world. We employ the best people and the best equipment. Our Technology Centres are well equipped for this purpose and recently NTC has been expanding its capability", said Dr Stephen Grocott, BHP Billiton global technology manager, Minerals Separation & Hydrometallurgy.

BHP Billiton Technology's mineralogy leader, Puru Shrestha, has been instrumental in many of the purchases for the NTC and is convinced the application of QEMSCAN, for quantitative mineralogy at their operational sites, will improve recovery, sustain product quality and enhance plant profits.

"The key to our decision was the system's ease-of-use, robust approach to mineral identification, speed, accuracy, full product support and the ability to roll out the technology to our operations around the world."

Intellection's long-term commitment has also resulted in the appointment of Mark Thomas, from the Camborne School of Mines (UK) who will be trained at its Brisbane facility as a QEMSCAN process mineralogist.

Prior to the installation, Mark will work with BHP Billiton NTC to assist in management of the systems as well as training the other process mineralogy team members.

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