Expertise

The Power of Applied Intelligence

As a project-based company, we specialize in developing, engineering and managing projects and related technologies as applied to mining, metallurgy, mineral processing, light metals, chemicals, life sciences, ponds, tailings management and infrastructure.

Mining

For projects in the mining and metallurgy sector, technological development and adaptation for the main processes are required, based on the local raw materials available, power source, and conditions specific to the project site. A sound knowledge of the major players, pier projects, technologies and equipment available are essential in ensuring that the design of the production plants and facilities are cost-effective and reliable.

Through years of experience, engineers at Novopro have acquired the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively carry out projects in all of their phases as a result of participation in the following fields:

  • Mining & Metallurgy
  • Conventional underground mining and brine recovery
  • Solution Mining
  • Potash Production and Compaction
  • Recovery of Oxides
  • Magnesium Metal Processing
  • Primary Metal Production
  • Metal Purification and Casting
  • Material Storage and Handling
  • Steam and Power Plants
  • Tailing Handling and Treatment

Over the years, Novopro has gained in-depth Solution Mining know how after being involved in multiple projects worldwide involving solution mining, with projects ranging from greenfield development to brownfield expansions. With this, our engineers have acquired the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively carry out solution mining projects, including the above ground infrastructure and the associated processing requirements.

Developing a successful Solution Mining operation involves a number of specialized field of activities, including the development of the exploration campaign, core recovery, sampling programs for geochemical assays, core logging, geophysical surveys and borehole geophysics. Our engineers apply the best practices used in the industry to develop solution mining concepts for single, double and multi-well operations, and the associated well drilling and casing programs.

The execution of testwork programs consisting of dissolution testing, rock mechanical testing cavern modeling and temperature modelling are of great importance for production cavern planning to optimize the brine grade and recovery, and to select the mining method, such as hot/cold/ambient selective or non-selective leaching. With the definition of brine production rates from the well field and the surface infrastructure design, the operating methodology is established. Our in-house specialists and associated experts in the field provide the client with an integrated solution mining program from the first exploration well to an operational the well field, while minimizing the project risks and optimizing the Capital Cost expenditures.

Mineral Processing

Novopro has a broad network of mineral testwork and processing expertise, with the capacity to perform both bench-scale and pilot-scale testwork. Mineral Processing design is performed by running two separate activities in parallel, the execution of the Testwork program, and process design modelling. A preliminary process model is created to provide the basis for the processing techniques and circuits to be used as a basis of the testwork program, and what and what data is collected and how. The results from the testwork program is used to update, optimize and validate the flowsheet for each unit operation.

Testwork and modeling play an integral part of the process design in order to validate accurate process parameters, and the configuration of the key process equipment. Our philosophy is to conduct testwork programs in conjunction with subject experts to add design and operational expertise into each unit operation, and ensure that each area is functional in the overall process as a whole.

Testwork results feed an overall process model, which provides the mass and heat balance of the project from ore recovery to the shipping of the final product. The list below provides a brief description of NOVOPRO’s testwork expertise:

  •   Chemical & Mineral Analyses including QEMSCAN
  •   Granulometric Analysis
  •   Comminution Circuit Testing and Design
  •   Flotation Testing & Circuit Configuration
  •   Heap Leaching and Tank Leaching
  •   Solvent Extraction and Electrowinning
  •   Sintering, Smelting and Purification
  •   Gravity Separation Testing
  •   Sizing Classification & De-Sliming
  •   Reactor Testing & Design
  •   Settler & Filter Testing & Design
  •   Hydrometallurgical Testing Programs
  •   Pyrometallurgical Test Programs
  •   Product Quality and Integrity Testing
  •   Corrosion Testwork

The nature of the potash and soda ash industries require that new processes be developed and that existing technologies be adapted, based on local raw materials and site conditions. A sound knowledge of the major players with regards to available technologies and related equipment is also essential in designing production plant’s that are cost effective and reliable.

Through years of experience, the engineers at Novopro have acquired the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively carry out potash & soda ash related projects in all of their phases ranging from project development to commissioning, start up and operation.

Experience has provided Novopro with detailed design capabilities for specialized equipment within the areas such as solution mining, stripping, crystallization, solid liquid separation, drying processes, compaction, storage and shipping. The integration of these areas within one plant site allows for the optimization of the plant area, water consumption, as well as steam and power generation with cogeneration systems.

This expertise is readily available within the team at Novopro which possesses the specific skills to address specific industry issues including the chemical and physical quality control of the end product, monitoring within the purification process, and the drying and compaction circuit. Other specific industry issues such as material handling within the plant, the associated storage equipment and building, as well as corrosion protection due to the aggressive nature of the product can also be addressed.

Given the involvement of Novopro in development activities within the potash and soda ash industry, the requirements for the resource estimation and reporting, as well as specific requirements for project financing is well understood and specific tools developed.

Novopro has participated in a number of projects that looked to recover Lithium directly from ore bodies, as value added minerals from tailings piles or waste brine streams of operating facilities, with an ultimate goal to produce both Li2CO3 or LiOH. With this, Novopro has developed expertise in;

Ore Recovery – From both conventional underground and surface mining, as well as brine recovery from surface lakes, trenches and wells developed in Playas, and from solution mining directly in the ore body.

Crushing- Crushing and grinding of recovered ore is featured in all of our conventional mining projects, with optimization based upon the abrasion index, crusher and grind work index, and the physical properties required by the process.

Leaching- We have designed and tested multiple leaching configurations for several projects in order to establish the concentration, retention time, and temperature of the leachate to optimize the recovery of lithium.

Purification- Multi-stage purification processes such as reacting the solution with lime to remove calcium and magnesium, NaOH and Na2CO3 addition to precipitate Mg/Mn/Ca minerals, and the use of Ion Exchange. . Novopro has extensive experience in both testing and modeling all types of leach reactors, and experience with Ion Exchange technologies.

Evaporation- To increase the concentration of lithium in brines, we have This is core to our expertise, as Novopro possesses an in-depth knowledge of evaporation circuit design and optimization, with numerous trade-off studies completed between forced evaporation MVR, MEE and evaporation ponds the solution undergoes an evaporation step.

Solid-Liquid Separation- The removal of solids from liquids in lithium processes can sometimes be complex. Novopro has designed and tested processing circuits with complex solid-liquid separation challenges including fine particles sizes and hydrated minerals as by-products.

Mass Balance Modeling/Testing- Novopro has designed mass balances that contain complex chemistry using state of the art computer models for both ponds and process. Additionally, these models have been used to guide laboratory testing to confirm both process parameters and equilibrium data. Certain applications require the development of pilot scale testing programs, with which Novopro's expertise was critical.

Novopro is a trusted partner to carry gold projects from exploration to production. We provide a comprehensive description of the deposit, its variability within the ore body, with the development and implementation of the ideal process and workflow. We provide process design, process optimization, commissioning support, project auditing, and training solutions.

We have optimizing flowsheets and processes for operating companies, performed brownfield expansions, and taken greenfield projects from small conceptual studies up to completion.

Novopro experts have been involved in metallurgical test work program planning, data interpretation, process development, Engineering design, risk analysis, installation and commissioning, auditing and project optimization including refractory and double refractory gold ores.

Novopro offers a variety of services for gold projects, including:

  • Chemical & Mineral Analyses including QEMSCAN
  • Geochemical analysis and applied Mineralogy
  • Gold deportment studies
  • Resource estimation
  • Geometallurgy
  • Preparation of test work programs and ore sampling strategies
  • Metallurgical test work management (Bench and Pilot scale)
  • Test work programs aligned with NI43-101 and JORC reporting requirements
  • Metallurgical Bench-scale and pilot plant testing
    1.   Comminution
    2.   Gravity separation
    3.   Flotation
    4.   Cyanidation, Carbon-in-Leach (CIL), Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP)
    5.   Oxidation methods
  • Mineral Processing and metallurgical flowsheet development
  • Technical audits
  • Due diligence review
  • Basic and detailed engineering
  • Economic trade-off studies and quantitative risk analysis
  • Process modelling and simulation
  • Project management
  • Commissioning and optimization

Novopro has participated in multiple projects in order to produce Copper concentrate and Copper cathode from the extracted ore, and detailed expertise in;

Mining – Including basic geological work and exploration campaigns, mine planning optimization, open pit slope stability and design, in-pit crushing, surface infrastructure, waste dump stacking and logistic studies, as well as integrating social and environmental studies.

Crushing and Grinding- Crushing and grinding of extracted ore is featured in all of our conventional mining projects, with optimization based upon the abrasion index, crusher and grind work index, and the physical properties.

Flotation - We have designed and tested multiple flotation configurations for Copper sulfide ores in several different labs in order to establish the liberation size, reagent concentration and consumption, and the retention time to maximize the grade and recovery of the Copper.

Dewatering and Leaching - We have designed and tested multiple thickening, filtering and leaching configurations for Copper concentrate, as well as leaching configurations for oxidized Copper ores.

Solvent Extraction/ Electrowinning – The solution from leaching stage is sent through solvent extraction and electrowinning stages. The idea is to further upgrade the Copper content in the carrier solution and then extract the Cu content to produce pure copper on the cathode. We have extensive experience in testing and design of solvent extraction systems and electrowinning.

The participation of the Novopro team in numerous projects, both in international and domestic markets, has allowed the company to acquire knowledge and expertise in the pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical industry.

Due to their involvement in zinc and lead projects, Novopro has developed surface mining expertise, which include the following specific fields and aspects:

  •   Basic Geological Work and Exploration Campaigns
  •   Mine Planning Optimization
  •   Open Pit Slope Stability and Desigm
  •   In Pit Crushing
  •   Surface Infrastructure
  •   Processing Plant Design
  •   Waste Dump Stacking
  •   Logistic Studies
  •   Social and Environmental Studies

With the technical expertise and experience of the engineering staff in the field of iron ore extraction and processing from hematite or magnetite deposits, Novopro has been invited in the past to integrate the Owner’s project team in the function of engineering representative. Such mandate can typically involve representing the Owner and interfacing with the EPCM contractor in the following functions:

  •   Engineering management
  •   Main engineering disciplines leads and interfaces:
    1.   Process
    2.   Mechanical
    3.   Electrical
    4.   Instrumentation and Controls
    5.   Concrete
    6.   Structural
    7.   Civil

Typical project scopes involve areas such as crushing, main concentrator, concentrate storage, tailings storage/disposal and port/shipping terminal where the EPCM design documents are reviewed and commented upon to communicate possible optimization alternatives.

Novopro expertise in the field can be applied not only to representing Owners as part of their integrated teams during FEED and/or detailed engineering phases but also be expanded to develop iron ore projects design throughout various study phases

Pond and Tailing Management

Evaporation and Crystallization ponds are featured in multiple Novopro projects in order to generate intermediate products from various resources. The pond designs and optimization based upon local conditions is a key driver for process optimization at Novopro. Extensive trade-offs have been conducted to control when and where specific species of salts precipitate, while minimizing the evaporation and earthworks required. The harvesting techniques, either wet or dry, are optimized, as well as brine entrainment and leakage losses and methods of handling tailings generated during pond the operations in order to reduce the Capital and Operating costs.

Through the course of many different projects, Novopro has developed a method for efficiently disposing or storing solid and liquid tailings. Depending on the process, alternate solutions can be put forth to maximize efficiency and minimize costs to the project. Potential recovery of minerals with value from tailings streams is always considered in Novopro’s designs. Extensive Trade-Off Studies have been conducted in order to determine the extent of recovery that can be economically achieved, with best practices developed and optimized over time, and across different projects.

Light Metals

The nature of the magnesium industry requires that new processes be developed and that existing technologies be adapted, based on local raw materials and conditions. A sound knowledge of the major players with regards to available technologies and related equipment is also essential.

Through years of experience, the engineers at Novopro have acquired the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively carry out magnesium metal related projects in all of their phases.

Experience has provided Novopro with detailed design capabilities for specialized equipment, such as chlorination units, fluid bed dryers, casting furnaces, molten metal pumps, and high current bus bars. This kind of expertise is usually not available within engineering firms and frequently has to be acquired through specialized consultants or vendors.

Novopro’s team has identified the majority of relevant equipment suppliers in the magnesium sector and is well aware of their performances. This is essential in all stages of a project with regards to qualification of contractors and vendors.

Infrastructure

Shipping terminals are a crucial component of many projects. In many cases they involve interfacing with the port authorities and other third-party terminal users which can become complex where terminals are already in operation. Novopro can become a valued asset in structuring and organizing work flows, communications, etc. with all stakeholders to integrate a feasible solution of a specific project design into shared infrastructure utilization.

Novopro also possesses the capability to design “Green field” terminals which can involve various components on an as-required basis. They can include but not be limited to aspects such as:

  •   Storage facilities
  •   Feed/delivery and reclaim systems
  •   On-site utilities
  •   Water and waste treatment
  •   Tie-ins with the existing material handling systems and/or utilities

All elements are tailor designed to fit given project specifics, in particular, the storage facilities which can include strategic criteria for future expansions and modularization to be addressed by NOVOPRO design. For additional details, go to the “Bulk Material Handling & Storage” portal of our web site.

Over the years, Novopro has gained much in-house know-how on bulk materials storage and handling from involvement in a number of mining and industrial projects worldwide. In all of their phases, every project requires storage provisions and the associated material handling equipment for plant or unit operations buffering. In order to fulfil these aspects, the engineers at Novopro in conjunction with associated experts in the field, have provided our clients with complete material storage solutions catered to each project-specific application.

Novopro has acquired the knowledge and expertise necessary to deliver multiple storage solutions including steel or concrete silos, monolithic concrete domes, sprung structures, or outdoor bulk storage designs, while minimizing risks and optimizing the selection of materials of construction, capital and operational cost expenditures.

During the course of executing scoping and feasibility studies, and detailed engineering, Novopro have performed the following for Bulk Material Storage, Logistics & Material Handling Systems:

  • Trade off studies for the selection of the optimum storage facility system among available options that best fits for the project’s needs
  • Design services covering conceptual design works, basic engineering and detailed engineering works
  • Preparation of request for quotation (RFQ) packages for equipment suppliers and construction contractors, and interfacing with the suppliers, contractors for the estimation of CAPEX and OPEX expenditures for such projects as well as for construction purposes
  • Automated loading and unloading systems designed for transport truck or railcar fleet

Tailored storage solutions imply equally tailored auxiliary systems for bulks feed and reclaim. Depending what the project’s needs are, such systems may include provisions for, either, “manual” or automated reclaiming. Product integrity preservation permitting it, manual reclaim using suitable vehicles may offer a cost effective option. Where such approach is not possible, several automated systems are available for implementation. They typically consist of mechanical stackers/reclaimers or gravity fed underground network of conveyors. Novopro’s know-how provides flexibility in selecting the most adapted solution.

Novopro understands the importance of efficiency and compliance to in-country road transportation regulations. Novopro’s involvement in numerous projects has provided the team with the skills necessary to conduct logistical studies and deliver comprehensive product logistics solutions tailored for each application.

  • Analysis on market demand and seasonality on storage requirements both in plant and other strategic locations
  • Transport truck and train loading systems
  • Train spur line design including bulk terminal loading and unloading system
  • Dynamic simulation of material supply to model materials logistics and identify storage and loading/unloading requirements
  • Trans loading systems for moving product from truck to train
  • Trans loading systems for moving product from barge to ocean vessels, used where deep-sea harbours are not available
  • Medium to high capacity ship loader design

Power Generation is a crucial component for all projects. The development of this sector involves vigilance towards a projects’ location and environmental considerations. Novopro has delivered complete design and estimates for Gas Turbine Power Plants, Co-Generation Power Plants as well as Primary/Secondary O/H Power Lines.

For more remote locations, diesel power generation is sometimes the most economic option and for isolated equipment with lower power consumptions, solar power can be the best.

Novopro incorporates aggregates the energy consumption rates and the associated costs into the financial models to understand the long term effects of the selected power generation technologies and mitigate the risks and find opportunities.

Having designed projects in some of the most arid regions in the world, Novopro has gained a critical approach to water consumption in the design. Novopro has conducted field drillings and pumping tests during hydrological studies for various projects to understand the water resources and adapt the process considering the local water composition and availability.

Novopro understands the technical and commercial impacts of an inefficient heat management plan, and the impact on both the Capex and the Opex . As a result, Novopro has concentrated on providing fully integrated and optimized systems, by considering all project areas from the resource right up to the plant output by performing a pinch analysis, and integrating opportunities for heat recovery and energy transfer. As a number of mineral processing facilities require both process heating and process cooling, Novopro has developed unique designs and equipment selections for the unit operations, where the heat extracted from a cooling application is recovered to unit operations and areas where heating is required. This configuration not only recovers the process heat from a unit operation, but also recovers the energy from the large motors providing the cooling while minimizing the volume of water required for the process.

Pharmaceutical

Novopro has been involved in numerous projects in the life sciences sector, including pharmaceutical, radiopharmaceutical, medical devices, and laboratories. Novopro has had first-hand experience with scoping studies, preparation of basis of design documents, detailed design, construction management, commissioning, process, and facility validation compliant to FDA, Health Canada, and CNSC requirements.