R10-million laboratory commissioned in DRC

CONTAINERISED SOLUTION The Kinsenda laboratory project involved the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a containerised laboratory facility

KINSENDA PROJECT Kinsenda had built a new mine and processing plant and required a laboratory that would provide analytical services

25th November 2016

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Turnkey laboratory solutions provider Tramecon has commissioned the R10-million Kinsenda laboratory, a project headed by midtier mining group Metorex, near the border town of Kasumbalesa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Metorex explains on its website that the Kinsenda project currently ranks as one of the world’s highest-grade copper deposits, with declared mineral resources of 20.7-million tonnes, grading 5.6% copper.

“Kinsenda had built a new mine and processing plant and required a laboratory that would provide analytical services for the geologists and metallurgists at the operation,” says Tramecon MD Dr Hannelie de Beer.

The scope of the project involved the design, supply, installation and commissioning (finalised in August) of a containerised laboratory facility.

“During installation, communication was a challenge, as English is not the main language spoken in the DRC.”

Tramecon has further been awarded a contract for the planning and design of a laboratory for a new gold mining project, in Armenia. “We are not at liberty to disclose the name of the client as yet; however, this is our first project in Armenia,” De Beer tells Mining Weekly, noting that the implementation phase of the project has yet to be put out to tender.

“When designing a laboratory, the location or country; accessibility to gas, chemicals and consumables; skills levels and skills bank within the location or country; level of analytical accuracy and the turnaround time required are key considerations,” she states.

Based on these aspects, particularly if the project is in a remote area, De Beer explains that Tramecon attempts to simplify the laboratory processes and technology, making the best compromise between the simplicity of operation and accuracy of results.

Solutions Provided
The company offers an Analytical Laboratory Solutions package, introduced in 2007, which involves the detailed scoping, design, delivery and commissioning of an entire laboratory “package” for new processing plants. This includes consultation and the provision of holistic solutions, says Tramecon.

“The package covers the entire value chain – from initial discussion with process engineers, geologists and environmentalists to clearly understand their specification for the laboratory, to erecting the laboratory, its commissioning and the training of staff,” says De Beer.

The same approach was followed during the execution of the Kinsenda project and will be followed during the planning and design phase of the Armenian project.

The laboratory solutions provided can be a fixed building, a containerised unit or mobile units such as a laboratory assembled within a panel-van or truck.

Over the past three years, Tramecon has provided consulting services for emerging gold producer Shanta Gold in Tanzania, midtier base metals company Nevsun Resources’ Bisha copper mine, in Eritrea, and intermediate gold mining company Alacer Gold’s Çöpler gold mine, in Turkey.

“Tramecon assisted the Çöpler analytical laboratory last year in identifying in-house problems at the mining site and redesigned its associated systems. This laboratory has recently had its ISO 17025 accreditation audit and should receive its accreditation before the end of the year,” adds De Beer.

The company’s consulting services for existing operations involve holistic quality audits of initial sampling, data processing and the integration of electronic management systems. “This is valuable in assisting metallurgical accounting at operations – despite the mining, processing and laboratory functions operating independently, the data, samples and systems remain integrated,” De Beer points out.

Tramecon’s subsidiary, proficiency testing service provider Qotho Laboratory Services, provides proficiency testing schemes for the global mineral industry and intends to introduce new proficiency testing schemes for reductants from the beginning of 2017. These schemes are similar to its existing proficiency testing schemes, but focus on the raw materials used in smelting processes, rather than on the ore or products itself.

“These schemes were requested by ferrous metal smelters in South Africa. Qotho will prepare the materials to be tested by the laboratories,” adds De Beer, highlighting that participation in the proficiency testing schemes will provide these smelters with confidence that their analytical procedures for raw material testing are correct.

Qotho also manufactures matrix-matched reference materials for mine laboratories and geological exploration campaigns.

“Qotho will be applying to the South African National Accreditation System for its ISO 17043 Proficiency Testing Service Provider accreditation before year-end,” De Beer concludes.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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