Test work design and management

Test work design and management is key to project success. Sampling and test work procedures need to be cost-effective and appropriate for each project phase. With unique experience around sampling, test work and project development, SIX-S offers the leading expertise necessary for all project phases, from scoping to definitive feasibility study, commissioning and optimisation.

The following sections describe the different types of tests available in project development.

1. End member test

The end member test is also known as ‘first inspection’, ‘pre-test’ or ‘sighter test’. It is the first step of sorting test work and is carried out to identify and select the most appropriate test work strategy for a particular project. It also provides a qualitative answer to the possibility of differentiation/classification efficiency.

2. Variability test

The main objective of the variability test is to determine quantitatively the Total Separation Efficiency for each class of variation under operating conditions.

3. Single-particle test

A single particle test is performed to evaluate the interaction between the detection system and the individual particles in detail (at the particle level), in order to optimise and validate the calibration activities. This test is particularly suitable for complex ores where calibration of the sensor signal (image) to the content of a particular particle is multivariate. It is also suitable for greenfield projects where access to samples is limited to (half) drill core.

4. Performance test

A performance test is a dynamic test performed on production-scale equipment that simulates operating conditions. The objective of this test is to evaluate the sorting performance as a function of various parameters such as tonnage and particle size. For each test run, the parameters are changed so that the sorting performance is examined with selected parameters.

5. Interval test

The interval test is a particle ore sorting test that consists of several sorting stages and aims at evaluating both the detection efficiency of a particle ore sorting system in combination with the detectable heterogeneity of the sample. The test is therefore used in earlier phases of the project when the heterogeneity of a sample needs to be described upscaling is accurate enough considering efficiency impacts of production conditions.

6. Pilot test

The most extensive test is the pilot test at site applying portable, often containerised equipment. Piloting allows for assessing separation performance on significantly larger sample masses. Testing on larger samples is especially necessary for applications where low grades require higher sample masses. It also enables development of operational procedures including perssonel and equipment and for evaluating the integration into the production system.