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Underground Processing project of Gekko

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Gekko’s  most recent research project was Underground Processing.

This 3 year project has been undertaken with the assistance of a dollar for dollar research grant from the Australian Federal Government and has focused on designing and building a prototype underground pre-concentration plant. The management and staff of Gekko has announced that its prototype is ready for preliminary trials.

The philosophy of the design in based on pre-concentration using the first two stages of Gekko’s Gravity Flotation and Intensive Leach (GFIL) flow sheet.

It is expected that pre-concentration underground will provide a number of clear and significant benefits:

The Hypothesis: Underground pre-concentration benefits

  • Ore treated near work face
  • Only 30% of ore treated will be hauled to the surface
  • Concentrates can be pumped to surface or dewatered and trucked or hoisted
  • Potential savings in haulage costs of over 50%
  • Potential to lower cut off grade
  • Back fill benefits for +100 micron grind.

Who will benefit the most?

  • Mines with ore that can be pre-concentrated
  • Mines with high cost haulage
  • Deeper mines
  • Mines requiring low footprint milling
  • Marginal operators
  • Mines looking to expand reserves.

Hypothesis: Net benefits

  • On early calculations it is estimated that overall mine operating costs could be reduced by 14-25%
  • Reserves may be able to be increased significantly
  • Production rates may also be able to be increased significantly.

Design features

  • The prototype plant is designed to fit within a 5 x 5 m tunnel
  • Manufactured in segments to allow for easy handling and any drive curvature.

Research trial program

  • While all the hard work in design and prototype building has been completed the real test is coming up.
  • Undertaking onsite surface trials near Ballarat, Australia
  • Surface and Underground installations – currently in discussions with a number of mining companies.

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