Specialised Services

Lero-Team-1

The METS team has over the last 27 years serviced the resource industry in all regions of the world. Our team has a broad range of specialised services including the area of expert witness, due diligence, optimisation, financial modelling, metallurgical accounting and audits.

Starting with your initial enquiry, a senior member of the METS team will advise you on how to best proceed with addressing your engineering problem. We will always involve you in the decision making process with clear and concise fee proposals at every stage of your project. We value regular communication and provide you with written project status reports to ensure you are fully briefed on the progress of your project.

It is our goal to help our clients achieve greater value from their projects by delivering valued outcomes – reduced costs, greater efficiencies, risk mitigation, clearer understanding, steps on how to move a project forward and greater operational accountability. Although the current business conditions pose challenges for many of our clients, we are working alongside each of them to deliver resilience and strength to their projects. We are dedicated to helping you achieve success. A testament that is reflected in our nearly 30 year history.

 

Audits

Process plant audits are an invaluable tool in continuous improvement. Part of the process is to benchmark the project. Plant Audit services are popular in times of economic crisis when organisations re-focus on efficiency and maximum performance of their operation. Each organisation is unique and may choose to audit or optimise for a multitude of very different reasons. These can range from reduction of operating cost to improving process plant throughput, improving plant recovery or re-assessing waste management options.

A variety of different methodologies are used to conduct a plant audit including sampling, data analysis, computer modelling, a plan/site visit, benchmarking, sampling assaying, and more.

Benefits of process plant audits are:

  • Improved overall plant economics;
  • Application of new technologies;
  • Improved asset performance;
  • Reduced risk levels;
  • Improved recovery;
  • Reduced cost;
  • Improved product quality;
  • Provide a “road map” for organisation to follow to achieve improved conversion efficiency and utilities consumption, lower wastage and enhanced plant management;
  • Reduced plant cycle times;
  • Improved resource utilization;
  • Provide early warnings of plant failure through trend monitoring leading to less downtime for breakdown maintenance;
  • Optimised sampling system;
  • Provide rapid project evaluation;
  • Reduced plant emissions;
  • Improved environment for operators;
  • Establish KPIs;
  • Reduced energy costs through optimisation of power consumption; and
  • Rapidly re-evaluate life-of-mine strategies for changes in economic environments.

Metallurgical Accounting

METS provides up-to-date information that can be used to control mining and metallurgical operation accuracy. This involves checking of systems and procedures and establishing if they balance. This can be undertaken for all commodities.

Metallurgical accounting relates to mineral processing plants which substitutes metals, concentrates or residues in place of the traditional monetary information. It includes the collection of plant data, technical information, record keeping, report production and a general scope of functions that many plant operators don’t consider.

The overall purpose of metallurgical accounting is to provide management with information that can be used to control costs across mining and metallurgical operations. The decisions that are taken based on the information provided by the metallurgical accounting system should result in improved control and ultimately increased revenue.

In the past the METS team has found that existing metallurgical accounting system have not been implemented and operated very well in some plants due to, among others factors, a lack of operator experience and training, lack of understanding of metallurgical accounting principles and no written procedures. METS has over the years assisted many operations by completing a metallurgical accounting audit and where weaknesses are identified, developed systems and procedures to ensure metallurgical accounting standards are met.

Due Diligence

METS independence means we can provide unbiased engineering due diligence reviews and appraisals for financial institutions and other firms, where we consider the lending of funds or expansion of existing projects, joint venture, and purchase or royalty arrangements. We look for gaps and evaluate if the investment is warranted, and establish the opportunities and risks.

Our thorough due diligence reports identify and assess significant factors affecting the operation of the current or future mining projects. METS also conducts risk assessments and analyses that include the identification of all risks, which may have a significant impact on the project’s organisation, structure, design, construction and operation, and any other issue under consideration. Undertaking due diligence during feasibility studies will help determine the effectiveness of planned strategies for mitigating risks and adverse consequences.

Simulation & Debottlenecking

Process simulation and de-bottlenecking is a service that METS currently offers where we have a range of software packages available for this. Our team of simulation experts can assist with simulations to reduce risk, estimate mass balances and equipment sizes and determine the optimum arrangement of unit operations.

METS uses different processes and software packages to model and simulate a range of unit and metallurgical processes:

  • Comminution circuit optimisation;
  • Mass balances;
  • Energy balances;
  • Crushing and screening circuits;
  • Conveyor design;
  • Process flowsheets; and
  • Plant configurations.

Simulations assist us in reducing risk, estimating mass balances and equipment sizes, and when used in the design stage, determine the optimum arrangement of unit and metallurgical operations, i.e. for plant optimisation, expansions and circuit modifications.

A range of information and outcomes are produced from data analysis, optimisation, design and simulation. This includes the storage and manipulation of models to assist us in testing a variety of plant configurations with no disruption to the plant. As a result the best alternatives are tested when it comes time for a plant trial and the effects on production are minimised.

Expert Witness

As a certified Expert Witness, Damian Connelly can assist with impartial testimonies and expertise in settling disputes for legal, insurance, government, banking and other industry bodies.

Damian can provide an opinion or factual information across all areas of mining and metallurgy in METS’ areas of competence, as a Mineral Industry Consultants Association (MICA) approved expert witness. His impartial opinion, in writing or verbally, can be used as evidence in proceedings, disputes, and arbitration, in a court of law or tribunal. Services include a review of technical information available, forming an opinion, documenting this opinion, report writing, discussions with the legal counsel and attending court to answer questions under oath for both counsel and defence.

In addition, the team of engineers at METS can develop and support expert testimonies with comprehensive metallurgical and engineering expertise, experience and case studies.

Financial Modelling

Building financial models for resource projects and financial analysis are integral components of the project evaluation process.

Capital Expenditures

Expenditures should include the initial capital outlay and sustaining capital, including investments in working capital, fixed assets, operating and maintenance costs, and environmental expenditures. Initial capital should include all expenditure to the point when the capital project is closed out. Contingency with respect to capital expenditures should be reflected as prescribed. Capitalized interest when appropriate should be included as a segregated cost to reflect the financing requirements but should be excluded from the cash flow analysis.

Demolition / Closure Costs

Any demolition (closure costs) for both project and life of facility would normally be included in the discounted cash flow analysis.

Costs and Prices

Real costs and prices (remove inflation impact) should be projected over the forecast period.  Use forecasts that are appropriate to the timing of the revenues and expenditures, with adequate provision for sensitivity analyses in supporting documents, such as reserve block models and cost estimation models.

Operating Costs

Cash costs incurred during the production and the realisation of all saleable products from the operation should be included. Where feed streams are processed through existing internal facilities these should be allocated full costs (fixed and variable). When applicable, current projections for treatment and refining charges provided for planning purposes should be used in determining realisation costs.

Residual Values

Any residual values or other recoveries resulting from the project, including the release of working capital should be included, but should not be netted against the value of the capital assets estimated for the project.

Revenue Forecasting

Revenue forecasts should be based on the current, commodity price projections provided for planning purposes. Commodity price forecasts invariably reflect inflated-dollar prices; to use these in real dollar cashflow models, the prices will have to be adjusted to remove built in inflation.

Stand Alone Basis

Each project must be evaluated on a full cost: stand-alone basis (i.e. should only include cash flows associated with the project). If synergies not specifically related to the project can be realized (e.g. tax shields, incremental cost benefits), they should be quantified separately and their impact on the various screens/measures (e.g. IRR, NPV, etc.) disclosed. Similarly, the project’s impact on the overall performance of the Business Unit should be evaluated and disclosed.

Taxes

All levels and types of taxes should initially be included and calculated on a stand-alone basis. A sensitivity analysis should be prepared to indicate the impact of any tax synergies due to group benefits through tax consolidation.

Time Horizon

Time horizons will vary depending on the project and the nature of the expenditures. As a general rule, cash flows should be calculated for the expected life of the project. Practically, given the diminishing accuracy of forecasts as time horizons lengthen, and the diminishing present value of cash flows many years hence, projections should not be performed beyond 25 years. Instead, a “terminal” or “residual” value should be determined for all cash flows after 25 years.

 

Optimisation

METS has considerable experience in plant optimisation around the world on a number of projects as a means of increasing profitability and reducing costs. Optimisation is not optional, it is a necessity in mineral processing plants. The small relative outlay compared with the financial benefits is a compelling motivation. The input of considerable experience, fresh ideas, new technology and optimisation of the existing technology can lead to much improved plant performance.

Advantages of plant optimisation are:

  • Improved recovery and reduced costs;
  • Improved overall plant economics;
  • Application of new technologies;
  • Improved asset performance;
  • Increase in product quality;
  • Provides a “road map” for organisation to follow to achieve improved conversion efficiency and utilities consumption, lower wastage and enhanced plant management;
  • Reduction in plant cycle times;
  • Reduction in number of samples required;
  • Plant emissions reduced;
  • Improved environment for operators;
  • Reduced energy costs through optimisation of electricity;
  • Early warnings of plant failure through trend monitoring lead to less downtime for emergency repairs;
  • Improved resource utilization;
  • Reduced risk levels;
  • Rapid re-evaluation of life-of-mine strategies for changes in economic environment; and
  • Rapid project evaluation.

Risk Assessment

Our extensive capabilities in mineral processing assist us in identifying and addressing risk management and quality assurance issues – even before they arise.  We use models that aim to locate all potential weaknesses within the operation, with the intention to reduce risk and loss, and improve profitability through increased productivity and quality, whilst fulfilling all regulatory requirements. These risks may result from equipment design, operational procedures, project constraints or business exposure.

Underpinning our track record of delivering engineering solutions that minimise risks in any operation, our comprehensive suite of risk management services includes:

  • Hazard management plans;
  • Equipment design and application risk reviews;
  • Operational risk review;
  • Quality and productivity projects;
  • Loss based analysis; and
  • Risk management audits.

Where significant risks are identified, appropriate detailed management and control methods are recommended.

Skills Hire

For your operation’s short term skills hire needs, together with Midas Engineering Group, have qualified and highly skilled professionals available to service your project. Skills hire places both temporary and long term contract personnel in mining, oil & gas, water, power, chemicals, infrastructure, environmental, residential and commercial sectors, locally and internationally. We are a diverse company offering a wide spectrum of services and a range of capabilities to suit your short term project through the engagement of our experienced personnel.