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Process Audit and Optimization

SGS has a well-deserved reputation for process audit, debottlenecking and optimization studies. We have high-level expertise in fields such as chemical engineering, mineralogy, environmental and process design that can provide innovative solutions from fresh angles. Our systematic approach can determine if improvements can be made in your plant. Plant optimization studies range from basic audits and plant surveys, to complete troubleshooting programs. At all times, the work is done in close association with your plant personnel.

Optimizing of plant operations can considerably increase your profits. Payback time is commonly weeks or months. Any improvement in product recovery or quality, with minimum capital outlay, results in additional revenue that directly increases profit. 

The following situations would most likely benefit from plant optimization

  • Newly-commissioned plants
  • Mines with highly variable ore and many ore types  
  • Plants that have experienced gradual changes in feed type, evolution of the treatment scheme, addition of new equipment and/or personnel changes Operations that have been operation many years and want to investigate new reagents or technologies
  • Existing operations that do not have a formal and systematic optimization program
  • Existing operations that require confidential debottlenecking and troubleshooting

SGS’s proven approach to plant optimisation typically comprises several of the following aspects:

  • Round-table “brainstorming” discussions and briefing sessions to clearly define objectives and limitations.
  • Continuous close contact to ensure maximum input from all angles to define the problem and ensure that the resolution is implemented in a sustainable manner.
  • Collation of data surrounding the existing flowsheet.
  • Visit to site to physically inspect the plant, discuss potential problem areas with plant staff and collect samples.
  • Review the feed types and overall implications for processing.
  • Identification of areas where adjustments to the flowsheet or operating conditions may improve throughput or recovery, cut costs, improve effluent quality, reduce emissions or decrease possibilities for litigation.
  • Review of existing and novel technologies that may be applicable to the problem.
  • Critical techno-economic assessment of possible changes to process flowsheets or operating conditions. This may include some of the following areas:
    • Process flowsheet definition
    • Metallurgical accounting
    • Grindabilty
    • Calculation of process inputs
    • Component mass-balancing
    • Speciation modeling
    • Simulation modeling
    • Potential technical viability
    • Estimated product yields and qualities
    • Estimated equipment capital costs, operating costs and economic viability
    • Chemical considerations that may impact upon processing 
    • Mineralogical considerations that may impact upon processing
    • Environmental compliance baseline, potential recycles and consideration of locality.
  • Planning and management of testwork programs to confirm or negate potential process changes.

Once the findings have been reported and recommendations made, SGS consults with technical personnel, plant and senior mine management and the corporate board to help implement the changes. SGS plant optimization studies can contribute significant value to your operation – partner with us today.

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