Customer Case Study: Björkdalsgruvan – Mandalay Resources
Mandalay Resources is a Canadian-based natural resource corporation with producing assets in Australia and Sweden, care and maintenance and development projects in Chile and Canada.
Their mission is to create shareholder value through the profitable operation of its mines as well as buy undervalued assets and make them more valuable through geological evaluation.
Mandalay Resources believes in Living Our Values and initiatives have been developed to support these values such as creating safe and efficient work practices, continuous improvement at operational levels, fiscal responsibility and effective relationships with their stakeholders.
Åsa Corin, M.Sc. Geol. has been working for more than 15 years in the mining industry, out of which 5 years for Mandalay Resources at Björkdalsgruvan gold mine in the Northern part of Sweden, near the city of Skellefteå. Her title is Geology Manager and she is responsible for all geological activities, including production, resource, and exploration at Björkdalsgruvan. The geological team at Björkdalsgruvan currently consists of 27 employees.
”The co-operation with CRS has always been easy”
In 2015, when Åsa started working at the mine, turnaround times for grade control samples were too long. The grade control samples were analysed at Björkdalsgruvans’ own laboratory mainly designed for mill samples. The capacity of the lab was limited and therefore the turnaround could vary from several days to weeks.
Björkdalsgruvan is a low grade gold mine and is very dependent on grade control. Previously, once the assays had returned, the ore had already gone through the mill and active decisions could no longer be taken. This resulted in ineffective mining and unnecessary operational costs.
CRS was proven to be a competent and qualified laboratory
In order to tackle the problem Björkdalsgruvan started looking into options how to decrease the turnaround times for grade control samples and infill drilling samples in order to be able to make more active decisions. CRS was proven to be a competent and qualified laboratory for the task and had previous experience of running on-site laboratories. When Åsa started working for Björkdalsgruvan in September 2015, a plan was put together with CRS how to reduce the turnaround times. The on-site lab for grade control and infill drilling samples, provided by CRS, started its operation during summer 2016.
CRS planned the layout of the facilities, which equipment to be used and the staffing for the laboratory. Björkdalsgruvan oversaw the construction of the laboratory building. The ramp-up of the on-site laboratory went fast and smoothly overall. In the planning and building process, CRS faced some minor problems regarding the slightly different HSE regulations in Sweden and thus the lay-out of the sample preparation room had to be changed during the process. There was also a concern amongst the mine personnel regarding the use of cyanide in the lab at the mine area. This concern was taken seriously by both Björkdalsgruvan and CRS and the decision was made to have CRS give an educational presentation about safe use of cyanide and the PAL-analysis process to all interested employees at the gold mine.
The CRS laboratory located inside the mining area brought the possibility for geologists and mine workers to drop off samples collected from the mine without any extra delay. The main advantage was the faster turnaround time for grade control samples. The turnaround time has dropped over the years from days or weeks to a maximum of 24 hours. This means, that the waste rock can better be separated from the ore before feeding it to the mill. Also, the possibility to make active decisions in infill drilling based on results makes the operation more cost efficient. The use of PAL1000 Au analysis for samples also gives a better sample representativity due to bigger subsamples size used for analysis, especially talking about a mine with coarse grained gold.
The co-operation with CRS has always been easy. Åsa especially appreciates the easy conversations, good customer service and initiative for continuous improvements towards best practices. CRS has also shown good flexibility and fast adaption to changing situations, which is very important for Björkdalsgruvan to be able to strive towards their business goals. Åsa Corin is overall very satisfied with CRS as their laboratory partner and warmly recommends CRS to other mining and exploration companies as well.