Geometallurgy Roundtable Discussion Summary

On February 12 & 13, GMG held two Geometallurgy roundtable discussions where participants were asked why they were interested in the subject and their biggest pain points/challenges.

Data Usage

Data emerged as the major challenge across the two roundtables. Common data themes included 

  • How to characterize
  • Manage
  • Model
  • Variability
  • Data types
  • De-risking
  • Creating common data formats
  • Reconciliation (see below)

Data presents a challenge because it influences the credibility of sampling and testing. The sheer volume of data as well as the potentially unused or undervalued data makes it challenging to trust its reliability when testing, categorizing, etc. Managing “bad” data can also be a challenge.  

Reconciliation

Reconciliation refers to the ability for geometallurgists to test the accuracy of geometallurgy models to determine accuracy and validity. Best practices around reconciliation could enable a step-by-step procedure.

Sampling and Testing

Tying into data is the collection and testing of representative samples. The data must be credible from the source of sampling through testing (e.g., during flotation). The discussions relating to sampling and testing were primarily around having a solid understanding of the number of samples to collect, understanding what representative means, ensuring proper techniques are followed through the lifecycle of the samples, and inconsistencies with these practices across sites. Sampling can also become quite costly when completing the minimum requirements for accurate results, adding to the challenge.   

Ore Categorization and Orebody Knowledge

Similar to the above sections, ore categorization is a challenge because of understanding how to categorize and how to manage ore categorization data (including categorizing waste). When characterizing the composition and texture of rocks, automated mineralogy exists but using it for textural descriptions is challenging.   

Knowledge Transfer/Capability

There are gaps in the industry, even when working with future generations of engineers, who are less aware or need more clarity on what geometallurgy actually means; therefore, an important consideration is ensuring that end users (mining engineers) are part of the journey can use what is developed. The group recommended the development of industry case studies or lessons learned to share with future geometallurgists. This can include considering future solutions such as applications of AI and other technology developments  

Standardization

Standardization is another overarching challenge because of the current lack of standards available for the geometallurgy discipline, making it difficult to find and consider best practices. The discussion around standardization touched on challenges comparing metallurgical test results between labs and potentially between operators because there are limited (or no) industry guidelines on test work.  

Next Steps

The next steps include bringing those who agreed to be part of the Ad Hoc Steering Committee together to determine the path forward. Due to the diversity of topics, several projects relating to geometallurgy could emerge, however, the steering committee discussion will identify the priority topic(s). 

We will follow up in the next week with more information on the governance policy and what type of commitment is expected. 

 



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