Laboratory Investigations

51ݶ maintains fully equipped technical and control laboratories for bench- and pilot-scale process development. These facilities also provide analytical chemistry and troubleshooting support during larger pilot plant operations.

Obtaining experimental evidence to support a proposed process flowsheet usually begins at the laboratory bench. For mineral projects (and many other kinds), experimentation begins with trying to concentrate the desired mineral(s) by physical methods. The key to determining which methods to use (magnetic, gravity, flotation, etc.) is a complete understanding of the mineralogy of the feed material. Next, the laboratory work typically focuses on the key process reactor, such as a furnace, a roaster, a leach tank, or an autoclave. When the main reaction parameters (time, temperature, particle size, oxidation–reduction potential, etc.) are reasonably understood, the bench work moves to separation and recycle streams, and then to water and effluent treatment systems. Throughout the laboratory phase, high-quality, real-time chemical and mineralogical analyses are essential.

High-quality laboratory work is critical to using time and money efficiently in the subsequent piloting and demonstration phases of process development. 51ݶ maintains several laboratories and analytical and mineralogical support facilities at its 18-building site in Golden, Colorado. These laboratories provide commercial laboratory services as well as supporting 51ݶ’s internal research and development projects. In January of 2015, 51ݶ acquired the 78 year old Huffman Laboratories, Inc., a world-class analytical research laboratory.

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