Test work has been an integral part of the Key Lake Revitalization program, which is tasked with upgrading the product purification and packaging portion of the mill. Since 2008, Frontline has had major involvement in over ten lab and pilot studies conducted at three different facilities in Canada. The majority of testing was pilot scale studies related to three mill areas; Product Drying/Calcining, Membrane Filtration and Solvent Extraction. Lab scale and plant (full) scale testing supplemented the pilot work as needed.
A substantial investment in test work by the company was rewarded with very significant results. Some of the test work results have been presented at an international conference, important results related to safety and hazard issues has been distributed to regulatory agencies around the world and the test work resulted in two internal environmental award nominations. The test work has also been the single biggest factor in the decision related to the future process used to produce the saleable product.
Frontline staff have been a major part of the work and responsible for Project Management/Operational Management, experiment design and reporting as well as construction management. The largest pilot study was related to solvent extraction and required almost four months of 24/7 operation. It was staffed by fifteen fulltime workers and had a peak resource usage of over forty people, including internal employees, and external contractors. Despite the difficult conditions and unprecedented scale of the large solvent extraction pilot plant, the costs were maintained within 10% of the original budget and the draft report was issued to the stakeholders within thirty days of finishing the pilot operations. The development of well defined objectives, led by Frontline staff, was the key to success.