The Asia Miner

SEP-OCT 2014

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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60 | ASIA Miner | September/October 2014 DURING the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, thousands of miners hoped to strike it rich by panning for nuggets in the streams around Ballarat. To- day, Gekko Systems is reviving that legacy by using the same principles to cleanly and effciently extract minerals on-site within underground mines. Gekko's Python modular processing plant was frst installed in 2008 at the Central Rand Gold Mine in South Africa. By processing the ore underground, only the valuable minerals – about 10% of the volume – have to be hauled to the surface. Python's snake-like chain of components, each about the size of a Toyota Landcruiser, frst crushes the ore and then uses gravity separa- tion and fotation to remove the minerals. The process is fully automated and able to run on its own recycled water. This not only saves cost, but brings huge environmental benefts through avoiding the need for chemicals, using relatively clean tail- ings for backfll and requiring much less power per tonne treated. "By lowering the environmental cost and the overall life-of-mine costs, Python helps mines achieve the highest return-on-investment," says Gekko Systems' CEO and managing director Elizabeth Lewis-Gray. Although Python was designed primarily for extracting gold and sul- phides, its component technology has been used on other minerals such as copper, silver, tin, tantalum, garnet and diamonds. This versatility and devotion to research and development has seen Gekko Systems expand from its beginnings in Ballarat to offces in South Africa, Chile and Canada, serving as bases for installations worldwide. Gekko specializes in the design, development and distribution of innovative mineral processing equipment and systems. Gekko's world-leading technical and service teams complement its unique and proven technologies. The company seeks low cost, quality solu- tions to metallurgical problems. Improving environmental outcomes from mineral processing is a focus. Gekko comprises a multinational team of industry experts committed to successful installations. Gekko Systems will be an exhibitor at IMARC, the International Mining and Resources Conference, in Melbourne from September 22 to 26 and will showcase its mining technology. KEECH Australia, which is based in Bendigo, Victoria, has been de- signing and manufacturing high integrity steel castings for nearly 80 years for leading companies domestically and globally. What began as a small family-based business 80 years ago has evolved into an internationally competitive organization that has in- vested signifcantly in research and development, IT and world-class engineering talent. Keech now exports to Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, the US, Chile, Indonesia, UK and Papua New Guinea. The company's foundries offer development, design, moulding, heat treatment and steel fnishing, SG castings and high alloy castings for the demanding requirements of the mining industry. The impact of the Global Financial Crisis has led Keech to invest and diversify its operations to insure against future international economic uncertainty. It saw the opportunity to take its business from operating within its existing niche markets to the world stage. In making this decision it recognized it needed to incorporate inno- vation into every aspect of its business. Five years ago, workers relied on skill and experience to make a product. Now the workshop foors include multiple kiosks where workers can look up exactly how to make any part or product. Automation technology has streamlined operations and improved productivity and safety. The company recognized that to be taken seriously on the global stage it needed to give credibility to its philosophy of developing prod- ucts with the best quality, produced in the safest way without affecting the environment. Keech has invested heavily in gaining ISO 9001 and AS4801 accreditation. With the appointment of a new CEO, Herbert Hemens, Keech has also invested heavily in R&D where it currently spends 7% of its reve- nue. Keech has a team of six world-class engineers dedicated to new product development and improving existing products. The company invested $3.5 million on improving technology for one of its foundries and will spend up to $15 million on its other foundry over the next two years to incorporate clean technology into its production. Keech accepts that as an Australian company it's not possible to be the cheapest foundry in the world but it is certainly one of the most innovative. Keech's strategy is to think and plan big. It believes Chile has the potential to rival Australia's mining boom and now has an offce in Santiago, Chile. Today about 20% of Keech's business is international and it expects exports to continue to grow. With this kind of commitment and invest- ment it's not hard to see why BRW magazine voted Keech one of Aus- tralia's most innovative businesses. Keech will be an exhibitor at IMARC, the International Mining and Re- sources Conference, in Melbourne from September 22 to 26 and will showcase its technology for the mining industry. Keech takes Australia to the world stage Gekko takes gold panning underground Gekko Systems' Python modular plant is used to process ore underground.

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