The newest Albion process plant at the GPM Gold project in Armenia has reached a milestone with the erection of the oxidative leaching circuit. Owned by GeoProMining Gold, the plant is under construction and designed to produce 128,000 gold oz annually from refractory ore; Xstrata Technology is supplying all project equipment.

The circuit consists of 12 of Xstrata Technology’s novel ZipaTank modular slurry storage and leaching tanks, representing a technological breakthrough, according to Mike Hourn, general manager of Hydrometallurgy at Xstrata Technology. “ZipaTanks were developed to simplify the erection of tanks at remote sites,” he said of “modular panels connected using mechanical joints, eliminating welding and scaffolding at site.”

The benefits, he noted, include reduced installation time and quality improvements associated with manufacture at a remote site. The 12 ZipaTanks were fully assembled and hydrostatically tested over two months, using a single crane and a crew of eight workers on a single-day shift. According to Xstrata officials, this represented a savings of three months of labor, relative to traditional site welded tanks.

Made of stainless steel, with an average capacity of 225 m3, the ZipaTanks were designed to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, owing to the project’s highly seismic environment.