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A well-planned and well-run pilot plant mitigates and manages technical risk.

Containers at harbour

With SGS, your pilot plant will:

  • Result in a practical, cost effective, environmentally sound flowsheet
  • Provide data for capital and operating cost estimates
  • Generate higher value through improved recovery or cost savings
  • Provide bankable milestones to maximize financing options

Pilot plants are key mechanisms to demonstrate technologies, flowsheets, ores, middling products and tailings. They enable you to evaluate technologies and processes at a small scale before committing to a large capital investment. A well-designed pilot plant allows for operational flexibility. This flexibility is the strength of pilot operations. Your program will include allowances for

  • Sample variability testing. 
  • Adjustment of certain parameters within pre-planned limits. 
  • Necessary corrections in recycle stream flow rates (as a result of changing conditions).

There are variations in flexibility and scope of pilot plants with respect to the main goal. A “proof of concept” pilot plant provides more flexibility for optimization than a demonstration or feasibility stage pilot plant.

Existing operations can also be simulated at the pilot-scale to evaluate new technology, assess the impact of different ore types or troubleshoot problems without interrupting production at the main plant.

SGS’s operational piloting experience is second to none. We provide all the pilot plant operation procedures and philosophy as well as all a definitive set of protocols in confidentiality, health, safety and environment. 


SGS has longstanding experience in bench scale testing and full scale pilot plants where confidential client intellectual property is an issue. Confidentiality is guaranteed, as integrity is a cornerstone of SGS operation.

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is of paramount importance for SGS. All visitors to our site are bound by our health and safety policies, including clients or their representatives. A HazOp meeting, that all staff working on the project must attend, is held before all pilot plant testing programs. We perform a variety of operational activities to ensure health and safety in our workplace. These protocols will be operational during any operations.


SGS’s internal environmental policy insists that sustainable environmental practices are given top priority. SGS is a co-signee to the CIM Environmental Policy Statement, which promotes environmentally sustainable operations in the mining and exploration industries. Our facilities have waste disposal systems that comply fully with local regulations. On-site environmental conditions are carefully monitored. Responsibilities are clearly outlined for management and employees and participation is mandatory. Standards and operating procedures are documented and followed, so that our Policy is maintained.

From our global experience with hundreds of complex industrial pilot plants, SGS has developed effective planning skills, operational instructions and targets. Our procedural documentation ensures successful operation, timely turnaround and rapid circuit reconfiguration. SGS’s metallurgical testing service includes integrated mineralogical, chemical and environmental analysis. The flexibility and independence of an SGS-managed pilot plant program allows you to do more rigorous, focused and confidential testing with the ultimate benefit being optimized, cost effective processing technologies.