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Mobile/Modular Plants in Mining


Mobile and modular mining plants are new to mining that is if you consider 60+ years as “NEW” (which I guess for mining is new).  The picture at the top is a truck mounted mobile plant by Denver Equipment Company from 1954, a self-contained grinding and flotation circuit with a generator.

With increased interest in fast track, short life projects mobile and /or modular plants can be valid option.  These would include all needed equipment, mounted and piped, electrical rooms, control rooms, offices, labs, maintenance and warehouse facilities, to include generators, material handling systems, crushing screening plants,  and similar.

Many small mining projects are mining and processing under 4 million tons of ore a year, which on an hourly basis (24 hours/day 7 day) is under 500 tons/hour.  At this level of production trailer mounted crushing screening plants are available as well as modular mineral processing circuits.  For operations that need hydro-metallurgical circuits or even chemical processing stages (think rare earths), even these can be done in a modular arrangement.  Even modular kilns and calciners are available.

For crushing and screening, modular/mobile plants are easy to come by.  Vendors in all parts of the world supply them in almost limitless configurations.  Several years ago sources existed for packaged/modular coal cleaning plants.  With the downturn in coal mining, many went out of business, but a few are still around.   For ADR, EW and the like several people supply packaged/modular systems.  There are a couple of modular concentrators available and quite a few mobile gravity plants.

Mobile and modular plants offer some advantages; they are quick to assembly (days and weeks instead of months), easier to start-up (can be pre-tested and water balanced (see it run before it is delivered)), need a lower skilled work force to assemble on site, can be re-used (if properly cared for), and can be quicker and easier for decommissioning (easy up easy down).

Another area they can play an important role is in pilot testing.  One problem with many pilot operations is that they are done in a different location from the actual operation (maybe on a different continent).  Using mobile/modular plants can allow testing under more realistic conditions (such


MIke Albrecht, P.E.

o   40+ years’ experience in the mining industry with strong mineral processing experience in precious metals, copper, industrial minerals, coal, and phosphate

o   Operational experience in precious metals, coal, and phosphate plus in petrochemicals.

o   Extensive experience performing studies and determining feasibility in the US and international (United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, and Greece).

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