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Scoping studies from SGS – bankable data to help you build more growth into your project.


A scoping study is a preliminary study to define a possible metallurgical circuit of a project. It provides you with:

  • An initial flowsheet complete with a overview of unit operations required
  • Grindability data
  • Indications of metallurgical difficulties or fatal flaws, if any
  • Indication of pay metal recovery
  • Environmentally sustainable tailings, water and other waste treatments
  • Possible final product grade

The data will help your team, your financiers and stakeholders assess the potential of your project and next steps.

An effective scoping study relies on independent, accurate metallurgical testing methods. We have performed thousands of scoping studies and provide metallurgical scoping tests for an extremely wide range of minerals including:

  • Precious metals – gold, silver, platinum group metals
  • Base metals – copper, lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt (sulfides and oxides)
  • Gems, including diamonds
  • Fuels – uranium, coal, coke, solid biofuel, oil sands
  • Specialty metals – gallium, titanium, zirconium, niobium, tantalum, tin, tungsten, beryllium, alkali metals, rare earth elements, antimony, mercury, bismuth and indium
  • Industrial minerals – fluorite, barite, silica, manganese and vanadium oxides, mineral sands and others

Trusted scoping studies from a world leader

As the market leader in metallurgical testing, we offer you scoping studies that will provide you with the bankable results you need to progress your project. We provide you with truly independent advice and reports. Plus, as we do not promote fixed technology, equipment or reagent suites, we evaluate the potential parameters and recommend the optimal flowsheet for your ore.

Every orebody is unique. Our extensive experience helps us get to the heart of your scoping study quickly and efficiently. For a consistent approach, our scoping studies cover a number of key areas that influence the success of your project. The exact selection of the tests required for your specific project can vary, depending on the deposit type, commodity to be extracted, environmental regulations and investor requirements.

We will perform testwork in the following areas when we evaluate in projects at the scoping level:

Mineralogical characterization

This is usually the first step in a suite of scoping test procedures. Results from SGS mineralogical characterization accurately characterize your ore and identify preliminary metallurgical parameters such as:

  • Pay metal and penalty mineral deportment
  • Grain size, grind size and regrind
  • Possibility of refractory gold
  • Potential impurity issues such as the presence of arsenic, mercury, selenium or radioactive minerals
  • Information related to environmental concerns, especially acid rock drainage (ARD)

Preliminary flowsheet development

Mineralogical characterization data forms the basis of the preliminary flowsheet for the project. Preliminary industry standard bench-scale tests are conducted to test the metallurgical response of your sample and the proposed flowsheet.

Lab scale tests commonly conducted in SGS laboratories around the world include:

  • Bench Scale Grinding: grinding tests such as the Bond Work Index, SPI, SMC and JK Drop Weight tests help us understand the hardness, grindability and abrasion characteristics of your sample. Grinding tests are used to design grinding circuits and thus can provide an estimate of the future capital and energy requirements of your operation
  • Bench Scale Magnetic, Electrostatic, Gravity Separation, Dense Media Separation (DMS): some phases such as gold, magnetite, chromite, galena, etc. can be efficiently extracted by taking advantage of their specific gravity, electrical or magnetic properties. Where possible, these unit operations are always designed into flowsheets due to their operational simplicity, low cost, limited reliance on reagents and often high recovery
  • Bench Scale Flotation: flotation tests help to validate liberation size requirements, reagent selection (collectors, modifiers, and depressants), flotation kinetics and rougher/cleaner/scavenger requirements. The results of these tests provide the grade and recovery data for concentrates and indications of what impurities might be in the final concentrates. The data will also help size flotation equipment, evaluate the best grind size/regrind requirements and otherwise assist in the design of the flotation process of any subsequent full-scale plant
  • Bench Scale Hydrometallurgical Testing: these tests provide data on leaching rates, reagent consumption, temperature, gas and pressure requirements and amenability testing for ambient, pressure and biological leaching circuits. Bench scale hydrometallurgy tests also identify environmental concerns due to the presence of deleterious elements
  • Assessment of variability: every deposit varies with depth and geography. Prior to beginning a scoping study, SGS experts can advise on domaining and sampling your deposit so that the samples used for the initial scoping study reflect the variability of the deposit. Attention to such detail paves the way for more geometallurgical studies and variability assessment at the prefeasibilty stage

SGS is recognized by the minerals sector as the leading metallurgical testing firm. We have provided bankable results for thousands of projects over seven decades of testing. Hundreds of operating mines use SGS flowsheets.

To progress and grow your project, contact us today.