At the Pointy End of Mining

Progradex will commission a PGX1350R Sampler later this month in the Horn of Africa.

This is the first Progradex Sampling System to be manufactured in the United Kingdom. Prior to this one, all Progradex manufacture was carried out in Perth, Western Australia.

UK Manufacture

As well as the usual fabrication equipment to include MIG and TIG welding, the new UK manufacturing facility features in-house laser cutting and rolling capability reducing manufacturing lead times and providing the ability to experiment with and trial new materials within the sampling systems taking the company’s ongoing commitment to research and development in a new direction.

UK Manufacture 3

The system recently arrived on site at the Bisha Mine in Eritrea, North East Africa where it will be mounted to a Schramm 450GT Rig for RC Grade Control, similar to the rig/sampler arrangement pictured below.

Progradex on Schramm 450GT

Bisha Mining is an Eritrean company formed for the development and operation of the Bisha Mine in Western Eritrea. It is owned by Nevsun Resources Ltd. (60%) and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO) (40%).

The Bisha Mine is a high-grade copper, gold, silver and zinc mine that commenced production in February 2011. It has received continuous support from the Eritrean government, who granted the Company’s mining license in January 2008 and is the first modern mine in Eritrea.

Bisha Mine

After two years of low cost gold production, the Bisha Mine transitioned to low-cost, high-grade copper production in 2013. Starting in 2016, Bisha will also produce zinc concentrate. Over the remaining life of the mine Bisha is forecast to produce over 640 million pounds of copper and over 1.7 billion pounds of zinc. Further resource potential exists at depth and from nearby discoveries within the Company’s licensed areas.

Progradex was chosen for RC Grade Control at Bisha after a third party audit reported deficiencies in mine to mill reconciliation and attributed the cause to inefficiencies in the current RC Sampling System being used in the pit producing unrepresentative samples.

Specifically, Bisha Mining justification for the change to Progradex was made on the basis of:-

Safety & Health

The Progradex system isolates dust and water exposure to the operators and requires less manual handling than the current practice of collecting the sample and manual splitting.

Improved Productivity

The Progradex system will reduce the number of operators required and allow deployment to enhance the ore spotting and recording/auditing functions in the mine.

The inbuilt automation will remove any source of human error involved in sample mix-ups and will deliver a consistent secondary split product every time from the primary sample.

Improved Economics

The implementation of this system will improve our downstream forecasting (particularly mine to mill) and provide higher confidence in final product characteristics leading to increased returns and reputation from greater consistency of final concentrate.

The system will enhance the recovery of precious metals within the grade control process through collection of fines.

Commissioning of the Progradex PGX1350R Sampling System will take place at the end of April/beginning of May 2015.

World Conference on Sampling & Blending 7

Progradex Managing Director, Toby Day, will be attending the 7th World Conference on Sampling & Blending (WCSB7) in Bordeaux, France on 10-12 June 2015.


The first World Conference on Sampling and Blending (WCSB1) was held in honour of Dr Pierre Gy in Esbjerg, Denmark in August 2003. Since then, the biannual conferences have been hosted in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Chile and Peru.

The 7th edition this year will be held in Bordeaux, France on 10-12 June 2015, the country where Dr Pierre Gy originally began developing his Theory of Sampling in the 1950’s.

Click here to be taken to the official WCSB7 registration website.

Progradex Sampler Demonstrates Zero Bias

See how Q-Q Plots generated from Progradex Sampler duplicate sample data compares to other drill sampling devices.

Q-Q Plot weight variation from 4 x 100m holes taking duplicate samples at 1m intervals from a Progradex PGX1350T Sampling System in severely broken ground. Note: Not only are the results excellent, they include the fines that no other sampling system can collect and sample.

QQ Plot Progradex Thabazimbi 1

Below are the Q-Q Plots taken from a Cone Splitter and 4 Tier Riffle Splitter as detailed in “Sampling 2010” Technical Paper (Graindorge 2010). Note: Fines are not included in these samples. Only the Progradex Sampler is capable of 100% recovery for sampling, i.e. collecting and sampling the entire drill hole.

Graindorge - QQ Plot Cone v Riffle 1

Mining Major Chooses Progradex

Diversified mining giant, Anglo American, has placed an order on Progradex for a PGX1350T Trailer Mounted Sampler and a rig mounted TD1200 Dust Collector for total rig dust emission control at Kumba Iron Ore’s flagship Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

With a selection process that included a site visit to Barrick’s Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic to see the results of a Progradex Sampler in operation, the order from Anglo American marks a first for them, a first for the iron ore industry and a first for Africa.

Progradex Managing Director, Toby Day, commented, “This is a significant step for Progradex. To be in partnership with another major mining company is reason enough to be excited about this project but as it is also the first order for the Progradex Sampling System in Africa and in iron ore, we are very pleased. Africa has traditionally been the continent with the highest level of sales activity for the various sampling systems I have been involved with over the years and our strategy to open a UK office was in part to support this region going forward with the complimentary timezone that Africa shares with the UK.”

Sishen Shovel

It is widely understood that iron itself is generally in abundance within an iron ore deposit but the role of sampling at the drilling stage is less understood. Correct drill sampling is critical to identify, not only the purity of iron within the ore but, the impurities that often exist within iron ore. These impurities (alumina, silica, phosporus, etc) are in small percentage but have a highly damaging effect in steel making and, as such, need to be identified.

“This makes representative sampling of iron ore as critical at the drilling stage as it is in, say, gold. As we are trying to find tiny traces of gold in an ore-block, we are doing exactly the same thing in iron ore, except it is alimina or silica or whatever”, Day explains. “There is an argument to say that it is more critical in iron ore simply because of the scale of iron ore operations. Moving dirt does not make money, only moving the right dirt does and, considering the massive volumes mined in iron ore operations, incorrect sampling can directly account for equally massive missed opportunity – processing of waste material and dumping of saleable grade ore on waste piles – and, on this scale, will have a devestating impact on efficiency and, ultimately, profit.”

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Anglo American has chosen a PGX1350T trailer mounted system at this stage because it provides them with the flexibility to share the sampler between various rigs, be it for RC grade control or RC exploration activities within the Sishen operations, until it is a proven asset that can be rolled out across other RC drilling programmes as standard rig mounted equipment.

Updates on the progress of the system at Sishen will follow on the Progradex website

AusIMM Sampling 2012 Conference, Perth – 21-22 August 2012

Progradex’s, Toby Day, addressing the conference with a keynote speech on new technologies in drill hole sampling.

Day’s presentation was well received by the 200 delegates that attended Sampling 2012. The Progradex Sampling System formed the cornerstone of the speech with in-depth pictorial explaination on how the new revolutionary sampling system works but there was a great deal more to this presentation. It looked at the process of RC drilling and the various sub-processes that are critical to a successful RC sampling outcome for both grade control and exploration applications.

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Starting with a detailed look into the selection process for RC hammers, Day went on to explain how each component in the RC drill string has great bearing on the ultimate representivity of a RC bag sample. He discussed “face sampling” RC hammers & bit/shroud selection, drill rod tool joint design and its effect on compressor efficiency & sample condition, the importance of a blowdown valve to maintain dry samples & minimise contamination, the roll of deflector boxes & the effect of poor design and, of course, the Progradex Sampler. But the address also covered the safety aspects associated with these selection decisions and how internal and external dust can now be completely controlled in any RC drilling application to the point where we are now able to seriously consider RC drilling for underground applications, a step forward that Day himself is passionate about bringing to fruition.

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Delegates were then treated to a case study presentation on the sample results from a Progradex Sampler operating at the massive Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine in the Dominican Republic by Matt Almond of Barrick Gold Corporation. Almond’s presentation supported a technical paper, written by Mick Goers (Geology Chief – Pueblo Viejo) and published for the first time at the conference, detailing side-by-side HARD Plot duplicate repeatability comparisons between results from the Progradex Sampler, UDR Sampler (a previous T. Day designed sampling system) and a Cyclone/Riffle Splitter Sampler.

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Iain Ross – Chief Advisor, Cave Engineering (Rio Tinto), Amir Mokaramian – Dept Petroleum Engineering (Curtain University), Matt Almond – Senior Production Geologist (Barrick Gold Corp, Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine) and Ben Ziegelaar (Session Chair) – Technical Director (Yankuang Resources)

The paper concluded that the highly representative and compliant results seen from the Progradex Sampler were considered the superior of the three systems because of the Progradex system’s ability to present 100% collection efficiency for sampling (coarse and fine dust sampled) and that this will ultimately be confirmed with further testwork following mill reconciliations.

The other significant point that this study highlighted is that duplicate repeatability tests for sampling QA/QC is not, as previously thought, necessarily providing the complete picture when it comes to sample representivity and more work needs to be done in this area.

The Barrick paper is available for distribution by contacting Progradex on

Sampling 2012 Conference

Progradex’s, Toby Day, has been invited by the AusIMM (Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy) to be a Keynote Speaker at their “Sampling 2012 – The Critical Role of Sampling” Conference in Perth on 21st-22nd August 2012.

Toby will provide a keynote address on new technologies in Drill Sampling.

Delegate Registration can be made by clicking the above conference website link.

Dizzy Heights

Boart Longyear Chile completes preparations for one of their two new Progradex Trailer Mounted Sampling Systems for the 5 hour road trip from their HQ in La Serena, Chile to Codelco’s Andina Copper Mine, 4,500m above sea level in the Andes Mountains.

Commissioning commences on Monday 28/11/11.

Drill Testing at Pueblo Viejo

Drill testing of the new Progradex Sampling System is currently underway at Barrick’s massive Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine on the Caribbean Island of the Dominican Republic. Details to follow shortly…

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Mick Goers (Geology Chief PVDC) and Toby Day (Progradex) during initial testing