After the successful on-time delivery of two 55 tph modular Python crushing and gravity plants to TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay mine in Northern Canada in 2016/17, Gekko has progressed in developing a new 30 tph underground model.

Once installed underground, Gekko’s low-height Python design will assist miners pre-concentrating the ore into ~50% of the original mass, significantly reducing the downstream processing energy requirements and costs.

The newly developed 30 tph system (pictured above) has been designed to be operated and maintained in a 5 m x 5 m (height by width) drive and has several new features to ensure that it complies with underground requirements. The new features that will ensure the safe and reliable operation of the plant include:

  • Mobile, electric powered low profile primary crushing front end
  • Retractable conveyor heads allow ease of equipment maintenance
  • Dust suppression micro-sprays
  • Cooling system for local electrical boxes to combat heat generation
  • Narrow module design to allow adequate clearance for a specially selected maintenance vehicle
  • Maximised water recycling to reduce water consumption
  • Minimised module dimensions to aid transport underground

The new design, which has been developed in conjunction with an underground mining company, will look to pre-concentrate ore underground prior to being transported to a surface based milling circuit. The Project aims to significantly reduce haulage and other related costs, and increase metal production.

Nigel Grigg, Gekko’s Business Development Manager stated, “Despite the obvious challenges, there are a number of real benefits to pre-concentrating underground. By pre-concentrating the ore into ~50% Of the original mass, it has the potential to double the grade to the milling circuit while achieving very high recoveries and leaving 50% of the original ore down the hole for backfill”.

Gekko is aiming to introduce the underground Python plant into deep mines, where the cost of haulage is becoming uneconomic or where mineralised waste can be economically treated and upgraded to augment current milling production.

“Another benefit of pre-concentrating your ore underground, is that if the ore can be upgraded at an economic recovery, then the cut-off grades can be reduced, increasing the mine life or allowing the miners to use mechanised mining methods that might otherwise be prohibitive due to dilution”.

”The new design takes into account the learnings that we have made from the surface based Python plants and will improve its operability underground” Gekko Process Engineering Manager, Tim Hughes

The Python plant whilst ideal for high grade deposits, also suits mines that are looking to exploit low grade satellite deposits or have mineral waste dumps that are able to be upgraded.

To learn more about Gekko’s award winning Python processing plant, contact General Manager – Global Sales & Solutions, Nigel Grigg, [email protected].

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