Innovative Approach to Geological Sample AnalysisMon, 10/21/2013 - 22:43
“Sometimes it is hard to find available and qualified people in a country like Mexico, so often it is beneficial for a company to subcontract this kind of expertise,” says Leslie Clark, former Business Manager of SGS Minerals in Mexico. The company has developed a portfolio of services ranging from geochemical surveys and analysis, core drilling, and feasibility studies at the exploration stage to on-site laboratories, plant services and mill support at the pre-production stage, and modular or mobile laboratories and environmental services at the production stage.
Mining companies have different options to collect and analyze their geological samples: they may create their own on-site laboratories, or send them off to an outsourced company for external analysis. “A big advantage is that mining companies will use our labs not only for production samples, but at the same time for their exploration samples, since SGS is independent,” explains Clark. The company currently has four on-site laboratories, and one commercial laboratory. Three out of the four on- site laboratories are fixed in a permanent building and one of them is modular, which brings the added advantage of being movable to different locations as exploration targets change. The company also offers mobile laboratories, which can be moved around on wheels. At the same time, SGS Minerals helps mining companies to improve their own processes, through on-site process optimization and audits. “Many mining companies face challenges with their own laboratories, and these laboratories play a key role in the operations of a mine; every mine has a laboratory. We have the expertise, so we can help them produce more accurate and precise results,” says Clark. “Aside from process optimization and audits, we can assist in process control, logistics and scheduling expert systems, sampling and monitoring, flowsheet development and piloting, among other things,” she adds.
Despite its already broad service offering, Clark says that SGS Minerals has every intention to continue growing in Mexico. Part of this growth will hinge on the company’s new laboratory, which is currently being built in Durango. “Today we have a very good laboratory providing geochemistry and metallurgy services, but we have decided to build a new facility that will give us room to expand in the future. This new facility will not only be a little larger, it will also have more efficient systems, automated processes, and more technology. It will not only improve efficiency, but safety and quality too,” says Clark.