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.
- 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.