Designing and constructing a pilot plant for maximising gold recovery from tailings waste
Stantec was asked to undertake the engineering design, procurement, and construction of a 22 tank, 2.5-tonne stainless steel pilot plant for gold leach and adsorption testwork in Queensland, and then ship it to the project location overseas.
Our job? To develop the client’s initial design brief into a commissioned pilot plant that could maximise gold recovery from tailings waste. The client wanted to understand whether the existing carbon-in-leach circuit, a part of the gold extraction process, had the additional capacity to accept flotation material and recover sufficient gold to make this brownfields project viable.
The new pilot plant trialed back-end recovery through the existing gold plant process stream. The unconventional pump and piping design (which required back pressure so large particles would be suspended in the flow) allowed a continuous slurry stream of approximately 97 millilitres per minute to be forwarded to the adsorption tanks. This was a scaled down version of the flow rates expected in the eventual plant design (by others).
The initial build timeline was very short—just three months from the start of the project to final delivery overseas. This required clever logistics, as barge freight can take up to eight weeks to arrive.
The pilot plant was successfully designed, built, and commissioned, and it underwent factory acceptance testing. It was then delivered to the client within the required timeframe.
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