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Geometallurgy is the integration of geological, mining, metallurgical, environmental and economic information to maximize the Net Present Value of an orebody while minimizing technical and operational risk.


The SGS Geometallurgical Framework:

  • Allows the definition of the optimum extractive metallurgy flowsheet design over life-of-mine based on the documented geological, geochemical, mineralogical, textural and metallurgical characteristics of an ore deposit
  • Involves state-of-the-art methodologies that take into account the specific characteristics of an ore deposit

Geometallurgy quantifies the variability of an ore deposit in terms of process parameters such as ore hardness, flotation, leach response and environmental impact. This data is then applied to the deposit block model or the mine plan, typically through use of geostatistics. Then, geometallurgically enabled mathematical models such as CEET and FLEET can be used to generate economic parameters such as throughput, grind size, grade and recovery. These can then be returned to the block model and mine plan for further handling. Scenarios can then be developed and compared to evaluate and optimize operational scenarios such as mine strategy, energy use, capital equipment needs, carbon footprint etc.

This is achieved through the application of the six stages of SGS’s Geometallurgical Framework.

Stage 1 – Multivariate Spatial Domain Definition: Definition of spatial domains with similar geological, geochemical, geophysical, geotechnical, mineralogical and textural characteristics in the ore deposit. This takes into account the extensive information data set associated with the exploration drillhole and geochemical database of the deposit.

Stage 2 – Sample Selection: Selection of samples from various domains across an orebody to provide representative materials for mineralogical, metallurgical and environmental testing.

Stage 3 – Parameter Determination: Determination of the suite of tests needed to generate the technical parameters needed for flowsheet design and environmental testing.

Stage 4 – Multivariate Model Definition: Definition of multivariate relationships that correlate characteristics such as geochemistry, mineralogy and texture with processing parameters related to grindability, flotation and leachability.

Stage 5 – Multivariate Spatial Model Generation: Use of geostatistical methods to populate each domain in the block model with geological, geochemical, geophysical, geotechnical, mineralogical and textural parameters either determined by testing or extrapolated from test results.

Stage 6 – Joint Mining and Mineral Processing Optimization: Optimization of geological, mining, mineral processing, environmental, marketing, economics and corporate strategies to maximize the project value while minimizing risk and several sources of uncertainties.

Geometallurgy significantly reduces the impact of spatial uncertainty in mine planning because it documents the variability in a deposit. The application of the SGS Geometallurgy Framework:

  • Lowers project risk
  • Optimizes mine resources
  • Improves plant performance
  • Minimizes Net Present Value

SGS is the market leader in using geometallurgy. Our technical experts have been actively developing and using geometallurgy in project development for many years. We have supported the development of hundreds of projects using the Geometallurgical Framework for large and small companies throughout the world. Team with us and share our intellectual expertise and reduce your technical risk.