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Challenges

Silver mining is widespread among countries around the world.

Many of the new silver deposits have more complex mineralogy than the previous ones. They are often more refractory in nature, and need different and more sophisticated extraction methods.

To operate successfully and profitably, silver companies need to better understand the product's mineralogy. They need to consider the benefits of modern extraction methods and invest in mining infrastructure that is more cost-effective.

Complicating the methodology is a shift in where the product is now sourced. Once, it came from high-grade, underground deposits. Now it's largely throughput, open-pit, polymetallic deposits. Silver is often found with copper, gold, lead, and zinc. In many cases, there are mixtures of oxides and sulfide ores that require different treatment methods to separate them.

Because silver does not leach in cyanide without special pretreatment, many deposits now are either wholly or partly refractory. Improved methods for doing this have been developing at exponential rates since the 1980s. Pressure oxidation, bio-oxidation and various forms of roasting—of both run-of-mine ore and flotation concentrates—are now common refractory processes.

Capabilities

Process development and design

We contribute to all phases of the project life cycle. Our clients rely on us for innovative and effective approaches to process design and implementation. Our strong process base is just one key differentiator that sets us apart from others in the consulting engineering services space.

Studies and engineering services

We work closely with our clients, funneling their knowledge and experience into work requirements at the earliest stages of the project. We do our homework. We make sure technical decisions and designs are sound, and when appropriate, we draw on the input and expertise of our specialists all over the world.

Comminution

We have complete process design capability, including comminution, optimization, and mineral processing. All three are integral parts of mining and the pre-preparation of ore.

Refractory silver ore pretreatment

Our experts are well-versed and experienced in a wide range of refractory processes: pressure oxidation, bio-oxidation and various forms of roasting—of both run-of-mine ore and flotation concentrates. These techniques have been used to design and operate many plants, such as the autoclaves and roaster at Silverstrike in Nevada.

Silver recovery

We're experienced in recovery methods suited to the different environments in which silver is found. Our technical experts know ore testing and characterization. We can interpret results that apply to a solid process design, and then help to implement it. With support from our multidisciplinary project delivery group, our process engineering teams have designed and built some of the most successful and prominent gold and silver mining projects in the world.

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Joe_Lombard

What it takes to win

Joe Lombard
Much as we appreciate the award recognition, outstanding project management is really just the way we do things at Hatch. We start with the basics. Safety. Communication. Cost and schedule. And most of all, client satisfaction.
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