The importance of laboratory tests

Laboratory tests are crucial to characterize the mineral to be processed, in order to identify early opportunities for improvement and possible technical challenges, such as the presence of clays, complex gangues, changes in the grade, mineralogy, hardness, liberation, etc. The early detection of these problems allows the definition of processing strategies, reduces operational risk and technical-economic uncertainty, and generates opportunities for continuous improvement with the consequent increase in the value of the project. The technical and scientific literature shows many examples where complete projects have failed due to poor mineral characterization, which has resulted in serious design and operation problems. Some examples include:

  • Non-representative samples determined a much harder mineral than the real one, so the mineral tended to be over-ground.
  • Chemical and mineralogical analyzes of a copper mine did not include the identification of fluorite. By going through a bioleaching process, the fluorite-rich mineral killed the bacteria.
  • Many plants were designed around composites of an “average” ore, without considering variability and extreme values ​​in terms of hardness, grade, and so on. Then, every time a mineral of extreme values ​​passed through the plant (higher hardness, lower grade, etc.), the treatment capacity and metallurgical results fell for weeks.

Problems such as the above can be prevented by conducting quality geometallurgical campaigns. This requires representative tests, variability analysis and statistically robust studies, but also requires a team of specialist engineers who interpret these results and can provide timely technical recommendations.

At Aminpro we have vast experience in planning, conducting and interpreting metallurgical campaigns. We carry out crushing, grinding, flotation, leaching and tailings deposition tests, both on a laboratory and pilot scale. If you require more information about our work, do not hesitate to contact us.


  1. Runge, Kym. ‘Laboratory Flotation Testing – An Essential Tool for Ore Characterisation’. In Flotation Plant Optimisation – A Metallurgical Guide to Identifying and Solving Problems in Flotation Plants, 19. Carlton, VIC: AusIMM: Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2010.
  2. Connely, Damian. ‘It Might Have Been Different But’. Linkedin, 11 March 2016.
  3. Dominy, Simon, Louisa O’Connor, Anita Parbhakar-Fox, Hylke Glass, and Saranchimeg Purevgerel. ‘Geometallurgy—A Route to More Resilient Mine Operations’. Minerals 8, no. 12 (1 December 2018): 560.
  4. Dominy, Simon, Louisa O’Connor, Hylke Glass, Saranchimeg Purevgerel, and Yuling Xie. ‘Towards Representative Metallurgical Sampling and Gold Recovery Testwork Programmes’. Minerals 8, no. 5 (4 May 2018): 193.

Many talk about Geometallurgy – At Aminpro we do Geometallurgy

What is Geometallurgy?

Geometallurgy is a discipline that combines geology, mining and metallurgy, in order to generate models to predict the metallurgical response of the minerals prior to their extraction. These models allow establishing business optimization strategies with a holistic view of the process, in contrast to the classical approach that optimized the mining and metallurgical processes separately.

The geometallurgical process consists, in general terms, of sampling (preferably drill cores) that match some classification of lithology and alteration in the mining plan to be characterized by laboratory metallurgical tests. The geological and metallurgical results obtained are incorporated into the geostatistical modelling, the block model and the mining plan based on a mining economic sequence metallurgical. The process described is quite complex and involves several iterations and levels of detail, depending on the level of certainty required.

Fig. 1: Aminpro‘s experience in geometallurgical campaigns.

At Aminpro we understand this process, as we have supported the geometallurgical campaigns of several companies worldwide, as seen in Fig. 1. Our role begins at sample selection, a key step in ensuring the representativeness of the results. Our sample selection methodology aims to make the average and standard deviation of the grades of at least two chemical elements similar between the In-Situ data and the sub-samples selected for metallurgical testing. This same criterion is considered when compositing samples to represent Geometallurgical Units (GMUs).

Once the samples have been selected, both for variability analysis and for the representative composites of each GMU, the metallurgical testing campaign begins. At Aminpro we offer industry-standard and other modified tests of our own, aimed at investigating the hardness of minerals, their flotation kinetics and rheological behaviour of the tailings to be generated. Table 1 shows some of the tests we commonly run in geometallurgical campaigns.

Table 1: Geometallurgical test carried out at Aminpro
Process Test Description
Comminution Bond Test Standard test for Wi hardness index for conventional grinding
Mini Bond Test developed by Aminpro especially for geometallurgical campaigns. It requires considerably less sample and processing time than the standard Bond Test, which significantly reduces its cost, allowing more samples to be characterized, reducing uncertainty and error
SPI Standard hardness test for SAG mills
Mini SGI Test developed by Aminpro especially for geometallurgical campaigns that allows characterizing the energy consumption of SAG grinding at a lower cost and with less sample
JKDWT JKTech specific fracturing test for SAG mills
SMC JKTech specific SAG and HPGR hardness test
Flotation Standard Kinetic Test Standard flotation test that characterizes the flotation kinetics of a mineral
SKT Simple Kinetic Test developed by Aminpro especially to feed the AminFloat flotation model
FKT Full Kinetic Test, with the characterization of flotation kinetics by size fraction, developed to feed the Aminfloat flotation model
Cycle Test Flotation test that allows the study of the response of different cell configurations
Tailings Management SedScan Test Automatic test developed by Tailpro in collaboration with Aminpro, for measuring the solid-liquid and liquid-liquid separation of pulps

Finally, the process production sequences are modelled using all the results of metallurgical tests according to the sequence of the run-of-mine, generating a production forecast, with the costs and incomes from the sale of concentrates. Our AminFloat simulator is used in the feasibility stage to economically optimize the design criteria of various circuits. As a result, we provide the client with a report with metallurgical performance estimates for the first years of operation that allows justifying the financing of the project.

If you are looking for more information about our work in Geometallurgy, do not hesitate to contact us.