This is the fifth of an eight week short information program that is intended to keep people in the mineral processing sector up to date with the developments at Gekko Systems.

This week's topic:

Underground Pre-Concentration

In week three’s Short Info Pack we discussed the benefits and possibilities of gravity and flotation pre-concentration for the treatment of gold ores. This week we are taking this further with a more in depth look at Gekko’s most recent research project: 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 are now delighted to announce that our 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