Mining Insight: Small Innovators – Tomorrow’s Leaders

Nobody can doubt that the pace of change is accelerating. The tools that were once the preserve of large companies are now in virtually everybody’s hands – instant global communication, access to the internet, unlimited array of production options to purchase and implement.

The driving forces are also there in the minerals industry and it is a fact that the vast majority of the world’s resources are in small, scattered deposits. These have never suited the majors and they simply walked past, or over, them looking for scale. Nothing wrong with that, it is horses for courses, but to continue ignoring these smaller deposits or leaving them to the vagaries of surface scratching is a huge waste of opportunity.

But how do you do it, and turn a profit to boot? The mining methods, whether open rip or small vein, are well known and in many countries such as Zimbabwe, this was and still is common practice. Processing was always a bit more challenging because the chemistry and metallurgy respects no scale and miniaturizing a complicated circuit is not an easy nor an economical thing to do. Enter APT, a company with in-house testwork and development capabilities and a passion to access the smaller end of the market. Our engineers were presented the challenge of not just miniaturizing existing equipment, but going back to the process fundamentals to see what could be simplified, adapted and improved upon. In short, challenge requires innovation, or it is simply defeat.

This endeavor lead to the development of perfectly balanced small solutions for treating feeds from surface rubble and alluvial as well as hard rock. Frequently the solution is designed to accept all of these together, as with APT’s Combo range plants. Gravity concentration was always a great contender and a number of suppliers worldwide offer solutions for gravity plants. What we at APT have done is expand the offering to include cyanidation and flotation. Our now well-known APT TriTank triangular cyanidation CIP and CIL plants are well known and diversely implemented. A new addition is the APT TriFloat, a revolutionary modular flotation system for anything from graphite to lithium minerals.

Not all small deposits are amenable, but for those that are APT offers the possibility of recovering them efficiently and with the very latest technology. Our associated laboratory Peacocke & Simpson is able to test your material for its specific response in APT candidate processes.

As invariably happens, a good idea at small scale is also perfectly usable at larger scale, and APT’s engineers are able to apply the same winning formulas to win the benefits at large scale too. A double innovation if you wish!

APT – innovating for a more efficient minerals industry. 

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On the left is an APT 3tph CIL TriTank, and on the right is an APT 10tph Combo Plant for Alluvial and Hard Rock Material.

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