Metallurgical Testwork Services

Blue Coast Research provides focused, high quality metallurgical testwork services to the global mining and minerals industries. Our recently completed approximately 10,000 square foot facility is located in Parksville on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, less than one hour's travel time from downtown Vancouver or Vancouver Airport. Our laboratory is well positioned to assist in the following areas of mineral processing:

  • Sample preparation
  • Froth flotation
  • Physical separation (including gravity concentration)
  • Bottle roll leaching
  • Grindability testing
  • Solid liquid separation

Our core team of metallurgists, project managers and senior technicians combine a balance of research and development understanding with a real world, "hands on" approach culminating from operations experience gained in North America, Europe and Africa.

Sample Preparation

Our sample preparation facilities consist of the required equipment to process samples ranging in mass from a few kilograms up to multiple tonnes of material. Upon delivery, our client's samples are inventoried and photographed as required to provide a record of the chain of custody process. Visual inspection of the drillcore or rock samples and any pertinent observations will be recorded and communicated to the client immediately. We can, upon request, provide specific gravity and/or bulk density measurements for samples received into the laboratory.

Our combination of jaw crushing, vibratory screening and secondary cone crushing enables us to stage crush material down to a specified (typically 10 mesh) top size ahead of downstream metallurgical testwork. Stage crushing is important as it minimises the production of potentially detrimental "fines" and reproduces the process as per a full scale, operating process plant.

Blending of samples is undertaken via spinning riffler to produce replicate testwork charges of any given mass. Thorough blending of samples prior to splitting into charges guarantees that each charge is the same, which reduces the variability in testwork results attributable to sample variability.

In addition to the aforementioned equipment, BCR's sample preparation facility includes ring and puck pulverisation, isolated bucking booths to minimise sample contamination and a full complement of screening equipment for sieve size analyses of samples. Our technicians ensure that between each job and between ore types within a specific job, the equipment and sample preparation areas are thoroughly cleaned to avoid cross contamination of samples.

Flotation Testing

Flotation testwork is at the core of what we do - within the Blue Coast Group, our personnel have a wealth of experience in developing flowsheets and operating flotation circuits. It is the combination of these two factors that results in our ability to design robust, common sense flotation flowsheets from flotation testwork conducted in the laboratory. The Denver D-12 flotation machine is the workhorse of the flotation testwork industry and Blue Coast Research has multiple units equipped to undertake flotation tests at a variety of pulp densities as well as a bulk flotation cell capable of receiving 10kg testwork charges. Our flotation capabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Bench scale rougher and cleaner testing
  • Flotation kinetics profiling
  • Locked cycle testing
  • Bulk flotation testing to generate products for environmental and/or downstream testwork

In addition to the flotation machines themselves, BCR is equipped with the periphery equipment one would expect to see in a mineral processing laboratory - grinding mills, filtration equipment, drying ovens, balances, etc.

Cyanidation Testing

Cyanidation testwork is used to determine what fraction of gold in a given sample is recoverable via cyanide leaching into pregnant leach solution (PLS). We offer our clients the option of performing cyanidation bottle roll tests to simulate CIP/CIL and heap leach processes by controlling the top size of the material presented to each test. We can also assess the impacts of aeration, cyanide dosage, pH and various reagents such as lead nitrate to optimise leaching conditions. As part of our heap leach testwork service we are equipped to undertake qualitative agglomeration assessments, coarse bottle roll, and column leach testing.

Gravity Testing

Often complimentary to flotation and cyanidation testwork, BCR has the capability to perform centrifugal gravity amenability testwork using our MD-3 Knelson laboratory gravity concentrator. We are able to undertake a range of tests, depending on the client's sample size availability and the level of investigation required.

A quick, single pass amenability GRG test can be done at a nominal grind size with 2-5kg of material. More detailed investigation is usually undertaken in the form of an E-GRG (Extended Gravity Recoverable Gold) test whereby 20kg of sample is fed into the concentrator over a range of feed sizes and the products from each pass are screened ahead of size by size gold assay. The E-GRG test typically requires 30kg of feed material to allow for grind curve determination as well as the test itself.

Grindability Testing

Currently, Blue Coast Research offers Bond's Ball Work Index determination to complement our client's flowsheet development programs. The data from a BWi test can be used to characterise the variability in hardness across a deposit as part of a variability or geometallurgical study, as well as to feed into comminution circuit design exercises using JK SimMet modelling software or power based methods. Where our clients require complimentary grindability testing such as Bond's Rod Work Index, crusher and abrasion index, SMC, SPI, Macpherson and JK Dropweight testing we can happily provide this service through one of our subcontractors.

Solid Liquid Separation

Thickener design is an important aspect of the flowsheet development process and Blue Coast Research offers our clients flocculent selection and static settling rate testwork aimed at obtaining the parameters required for adequate thickener sizing. We currently do not offer filtration testwork in house but are aligned with various equipment suppliers who offer such a service through a subcontractor arrangement.