Set Point Laboratories have successfully secured the labour contract for a unique underground laboratory at Palabora Mining Company in Phalaborwa.
Closer monitoring of ore copper concentrations is imperative to ensure output is maximised and sustained from the current operations to the envisaged new mining level.
The mine awarded Set Point Laboratories the contract to manage and operate its underground laboratory as they wanted to reduce assay and sampling costs, as well as improve the turnaround time for sample analysis as this is critical in production decision-making for the mine.
The lab has the capacity to analyse 450 samples (9 Tonnes of Copper ore) per week. When functioning at full capacity, only 56kg of sample is brought to the surface daily for XRF analysis as opposed to 1800kg daily, when there wasn’t an underground lab. The 56kg of sample is easily carried by the operators to the surface section. This alleviates the logistical issues that were involved when transporting 1800kg from underground to the mine’s chemical laboratory.
“Since it was established the laboratory has successfully reduced the turnaround time from more than one month to 72 hours, allowing the client to focus on their core competencies while ensuring that the analytical data received is accurate and consistent," says Kevin Gerber, Managing Director Set Point Laboratories.
The regular consultation between the onsite laboratory and the mine makes it easier for queries to be addressed immediately resulting in improved customer service.
For quality control purposes, 10% of the mine’s samples are reanalysed at Set Point’s main laboratory for comparison.
As a value add, Set Point Laboratories have conducted Quality Assurance and Quality control training for the benefit of geologists, operators and samplers involved with the underground laboratory.
Set Point Laboratories is an ISO 17025 accredited analytical chemistry laboratory offering a wide range of analytical tests on PGM's and Gold, Light Elements, Uranium and Rare earths, and Water.
The company which has a water laboratory specialising in the analysis of ground, surface, drinking, waste and process water also provides an outsourced or managed mine and on-site laboratories in Mozambique and Gabon and a well-established laboratory in Botswana.