AUSTRALIA - GEKKO SYSTEMS is testing an idea to process ore underground. Its R&D program involves designing, building and testing a modular plant in an underground setting. A total of Aus$2.4 million, half in the form of a grant from the Australian government, will be spent over the next three years.
Gekko is hoping its innovations will be successful and not limited to the gold industry. All the components of the plant must have a smaller footprint and operate more efficiently than traditional equipment. Gravity recovery will be key to reducing comminution. All equipment must survive the challenging underground environment. There is less room for operating error in the event of poor processing efficiency. Complex process control will be needed.
Significant benefits of an underground mineral processing plant are expected. Users would enjoy huge savings in the cost of ore transportation. The amount of tailings that have to be impounded could decrease. Noise and surface dust would be reduced. And best of all, Gekko estimates a 25% reduction in total operating costs.
Contact Gekko's R&D manager Tim Hughes at [email protected]
for updates on the project.