SHERPA for Mineral Processing

Powerful engineering-based calculations in an easy to use interface that saves you time

Sherpa for Mineral Processing Plants is an engineering-based, menu-driven application that uses project, feed, and site parameters supplied by the user to estimate the operating costs and capital expenditures of a mineral processing plant.

Operating costs include those associated with wages, salaries, supply consumption, and equipment operation. Capital expenditures cover equipment purchase and installation, site work, buildings, construction management, administration, and design and engineering.

Working with the information provided by the evaluator, the program first suggests a flowsheet based upon both the type of deposit, the suite of commodities, and the ore and gangue minerals.

What's Included

See how it works


Currently, feed parameters attributable to the following deposit types have been captured by the program:

  • Epithermal
  • Orogenic Gold
  • Carbonate-hosted Stratabound
  • Breccia
  • Vein
  • Porphyry
  • Carlin
  • Volcanic-hosted Massive Sulfide
  • Skarn
  • Magmatic
  • Archean Anorthosite Pluton

Commodities for which plant designs have been included in the program database include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Nickel
  • Cobalt
  • Molybdenum
  • Diamonds
  • Fluorspar
  • Titanium
  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Tungsten
  • Barite
  • Iron
  • Beryllium
  • Calcite
  • Chromium
  • Phosphate
  • Silica
  • Anorthosite

And, currently, the following flowsheet designs are available:

  • Gravity/Carbon-in-Pulp
  • Two-product Flotation
  • Single-product Flotation/Gravity
  • Single-product Gravity/Flotation
  • Pressure Leach/Carbon-in-Leach
  • Heap Leach/Carbon Adsorption
  • Heap Leach/Merrill Crowe
  • Single-product Flotation
  • Agitated Tank Leach
  • Carbon-in-Pulp
  • Crushing/Optic Sorting
  • Three-Stage Crushing

The operating and capital expenditures associated with a variety of ancillary facilities are also estimated in the program environment. Currently, these include:

  • Heap Leach Pads and Ponds
  • Tailings Impoundments
  • Fresh Water Storage Ponds
  • Mill Water Recycle Ponds
  • Project Camp
    • Dormitory, Cafeteria, and Recreational Facilities for remote operations
    • Expandable to accommodate mining and other workforces
  • Power Generation Facilities
  • Transmission Lines

Other program features include:

Current supply costs, wages, salaries, and equipment prices are contained in a separate database, which is automatically queried by the program. Most cost values found in this database are supplied by CostMine’s Mining Cost Service. All costs, prices, wages, and salaries can be easily altered by the user within the operating environment.

A user’s manual fully explains program operations, utility functions, and most of the algorithms used in the cost-estimating calculations. The manual also contains a detailed tutorial example that enables the evaluator to quickly learn how to use the primary features of the program.

Help screens are available for all but the most apparent entries. These explain the type of information requested by the program and the way in which Sherpa determines its suggested values. Help screens also provide the user with alternative data that can be used to modify Sherpa’s suggested values.

Complete project output reports can be exported to text files. These files can be imported into the software of your choosing for further evaluation.

Here’s how Sherpa for Mineral Processing Plants works:

With the feed characteristics entered and the flow sheet suggested, the program proceeds to emulate flow through the plant to arrive at a material balance. These calculations estimate the flow rate, size fraction, and solids density of the feed into each machine to determine their required capacities (and resulting sizes). With the balance calculated and the flowsheet displayed, you can click on any machine in the flowsheet to activate a screen that provides you the means to change any of the operating parameters of that machine. As an example, the screen for a SAG mill:

Sag Mill Suggested/Editable Values, Example

  • Feed Rate
  • Bond Work Index
  • Feed Size (and percent passing)
  • Product Size (and percent passing)
  • Pulp Density
  • Feed Specific Gravity
  • Media Specific Gravity
  • Pulp Retention Time
  • Mill Charge
  • Pulp Load (percent solids)
  • Circulating Load
  • Length:Diameter Ratio
  • Mill Diameter
  • Mill Length
  • Drive Horsepower
  • Media Consumption Rate
  • Media Price
  • Liner Consumption Rate
  • Liner Price

With that information in hand, the program works to estimate the installation labor and supply requirements for each machine, which include:

  • Concrete
  • Pipe
  • Steel
  • Insulation
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical
  • Coatings

Once you are satisfied with the values for all these machine parameters, the program goes on to estimate engineering requirements for a variety of ancillary facilities, such as a tailings impoundment, water supply and treatment system, mill building, power supply, and even a project camp, if required.

When all necessary cost engineering parameters have been determined, they are used in conjunction with the information contained in the cost database to calculate all relevant capital expenditures. Operating costs are also estimated and in addition to labor and equipment operation, the program estimates the consumption and resulting costs for all the reagents typically required for the specified feed and the recovery process. All results are then displayed on the screen and may be exported to text file.

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100 N Mullan Rd Ste 102
Spokane Valley, Washington
99206, USA

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