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Kovit a global player in paste technology

November 19, 2012
by Scott Haddow
In: Supplier Showcase, Technology

Projects around the world keep company busy

Kovit Engineering staff carried out a backfill and tailings management scoping study at Capstone Mining’s polymetallic Cozamin Mine in Zacatecas, Mexico.

In less than two years, Sudbury-based Kovit Engineering has become a major player in paste technology.

The company already has projects in nearly all four corners of the globe thanks to an experienced, innovative and well-respected team at the helm.

“The team at Kovit has a good reputation from their years of working in the mining industry,” said Kovit president Frank Palkovits. “Our people are highly sought after. We have a niche expertise in paste technology. We cut our teeth in the industry on paste rock fill, cemented rock fill and hydraulic fill. We all have operational experience. That background is our strength and has allowed us to grow quickly. We understand where our clients want to go.”

Four Owners

Kovit Engineering was incorporated 16 months ago. There are four owners, who all bring unique expertise and knowledge to the company.

Palkovits has more than 30 years of combined experience in operating and consulting in the mining industry.

Paul Rantala, a mining engineer, has 10 years experience in mine operations and 12 years of experience consulting internationally in mine backfill and total integrated shotcrete systems.

Steve Reichle, a senior electrical engineer, has more than 20 years of technical and supervisory experience in industrial process controls, instrumentation, PLC/DCS systems, and plant power systems in the mining industry.

Mark Wallgreen has been involved in designing and building process plants for 15 years. Prior to that, he worked for five years consulting to the metallurgical industry.

The four men knew each other from working in the mining industry with different companies, yet they all shared the same values and had the will to come together and start their own venture.

Kovit’s primary focus is providing consulting engineering in the areas of mine backfill and surface tailings to mines around the globe. Kovit provides expertise in the areas of mine backfill and application of paste and thickened tailings technology for tailings management.

The firm has expertise in hydraulic fill, dry stacking of tailings, paste backfill technology, cemented rock fill, shotcrete recipes and equipment design.

For clients requiring a new cemented rock fill, hydraulic or paste backfill plant, their services include: conceptual and scoping studies, pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, detailed engineering, EPCM services, training and commissioning.

For clients looking to expand or improve an existing mine fill, shotcrete or tailings handling operation, Kovit can assist with laboratory testing, pipeline and distribution system troubleshooting, plant and mine backfill productivity improvements, backfill strategies, backfill optimization, alternative tailings management plans and mine and plant operations audits.

There are 12 employees at the company’s Sudbury location.

“We focus on global markets to fill a need for clients and that demand is there in nearly all commodities in good and bad times,” Palkovits said. “Our team is made up of people who can work with corporate clients right through to the people in the mining operations to really understand and categorize their needs and provide definite solutions. We are supported with one of the best paste backfill laboratories in the world located right in Sudbury. We work on sustainability issues. It is near and dear to our hearts. We need to take care of the land. There are ways to use paste technology to improve shareholder value and community value.”


Kovit is involved in mining projects across the world in places such as Serbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil and Canada, as well as right across Northern Ontario and the Sudbury region.

The company does work with all major, medium and small mining operations such as Kinross Gold’s Kupol Mine in northern Serbia. Kovit is also involved with tailings management and paste backfill options for Kinross in an Arctic environment.

Locally, Kovit is involved in many projects, including the design of a tailing preparation plant for Vale’s Victor Capre project.

“It’s work not many people do and do well,” senior mining engineer Pierre Mainville said. “We do and that is why we are getting a lot of work internationally. We are the experts in this field. It is a difficult and challenging field in the mining industry. It isn’t always the most glamorous work, but it is what we do best.”

It has been an interesting ride through the first 16 months for the team at Kovit Engineering.

Palkovits has enjoyed the experience of building a team from the ground up to tackle key issues facing mining operations globally.

“It has been difficult, but it has also been a joyride,” he said. “One of the best aspects of it all for us has been growing a new team. It has been rewarding seeing what we have accomplished.”

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