Keyhole processing

MINERALS processing equipment supplier Gekko Systems has released an automated modular plant designed to operate in a 5 m x 5 m tunnel and produce a high-grade concentrate for pumping to the surface.

According to the company, the Python Underground Processing Plant (Python UPP) will save mining companies up to 15-25% of their total costs.

Gekko’s technical director Sandy Gray said step change savings can be expected in haulage, ventilation, back fill, grinding, staffing, tailings disposal and environmental costs.

Installation of the unit may also de-bottleneck production and it has the potential to lower cut off grade.

The process design concept is to operate the crushing, grinding and pre-concentration plant underground and to pump the concentrate to the surface.

Depending on available voidage underground, and metallurgical test work, it can be expected that a volume concentrate of between 5-30% mass will be pumped to the surface — eliminating the need for trucking.

According to the company, the 20 t/hr prototype Underground Processing Plant recently passed its most crucial step after undertaking onsite trials to evaluate capacity and quality control. The plant took less than 24 hours to commission.

Sandy Gray

Tim Hughes

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