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Published by miningnova
recovery of gold from vintage dumps
recovery of gold from vintage dumps

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: miningnova on Jun 25, 2009
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Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)
Vantage of Gravity Separation Techniques to Recover Gold from the Vintage Dumps
V.G. Suresh Kumar*, Malay Mandal** and M. Shankaragouda*** 
*Metallurgist, **Dy. General Manager, ***Manager Hutti Gold Mines Company Limited,Hutti
Attempts were made here to classify and concentrate sand and gold. The tests were conducted onlab scale in the in house R&D plant of HGML. These studies make a new path for establishing a full fledgedtailing treatment plant with integration of existing tailing treatment. This paper throws the light on advancedgravity techniques to treat abandoned gold ore tailings by using Falcon concentrator with in-vogue cyanidationcoupled with classification.
Waste recycle is no doubt one of the todays burning issues in any industry; Metallurgicaloperations throughout the world generating wasteare not excep-tional one. The Hutti Gold MinesCompany Ltd. (HGML) a Karnataka Govern-ment under taking, the premiere Gold producer inIndia and 40
member of the World GoldCouncil, was started in the year 1947 and till nownine million tonnes of ore was treated with a present day installed capacity of 1950 TPD. Thecompany had adopted new technologies with theadvancement and pertinent to the time. Thetailing generated after treatment of gold ore bythe different established processes like earlier mercury amalgam-mation, there after cyanideleaching – Merill crowe process and now ulti-mately Cyanidation – CIP process are stacked intailing dump. The tailing in the early stages wasstacked as it was basis i.e. comparatively coarsein particle size & it is of high amount of residualgold value. Huge tonnages of abandoned tailingsare available to reprocessing and recover goldfrom it.Storage and disposal of this massivequantum of tailings requires huge land associatedwith environ-mental problem. This led towidespread concern in the minds of processengineers and environmentalists. As these wastesare generally low-value products, the cuttingedge technologies of today can be the solutionsfor the vintage dumps. Therefore, the processesdeve-loped to treat them must be not only simple but also cost effective. A part of now abandoneddumps which are of comparatively high goldcontent can be effectively treated to recover thecoarse sand for filling the voids in under groundand to recover the gold available in it, which maymeet the process cost of recycling.
1.1 Tailing Dumps
There are mainly two tailing dumps in HGML premises. About 8.0 million tonnes of tailingswas stacked in the abandoned old tailing dump.The new tailing dump of about 1.0 million tonesof tailings was deserted after plant expansion andintroduction of the processes like cyanidation-CIP process and new tailing classificationsystem.At the beginning of the mine, only gravity process was practiced to recover gold and tailinggenerated from it was stacked in the old tailingdump. Latter on cyanidation process wasintroduced along with gravity process. A part of the old tailing dump of about 87154 tonnescontaining considerably high gold count i.e.about 1.15 g/t was generated at early operationalstages of the plant, only by gravitational process.The high count of these tailings was mainly dueto the coarse grinding i.e. about 80-100 mesh in particle size and by treatment of relatively highgrade ore about 10g/t. Later on, tailing containinggold value of about 0.4 to 0.6 g/t generated fromthe cyanidation process was dumped by the side
Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)
of these high value tailings. Tailings so generatedfrom these two pro-cesses got mixed up in duecoarse of time because of erosion of lighte particle and segregation effect.After abandoning the old dump, from theyear 2001 onwards the new tailing dump wasconstructed with embankments of waste rock,after expansion of mill and subsequent adoptionof CIP & modified sand classification system.The residual gold of about 0.3 to 0.4 g/t, in present day tailings is being disposed in the newtailing dump.
1.2 Environmental Considerations
The abandoned mine wastes produces a lot of environmental pollutions into the mine areas aswell as in its vicinity. The source of environ-mental pollution is the metallic waste rocksgenerated from the mine and the metallurgical plant tailings. Environmental manag-ement of these mine wastes is not only a costly affair butalso cumbersome.Afforestation efforts towards retarding theenvironment pollution hazard are a veryexpensive affair and it is not a permanent remedy.The major constituents of the mill tailings beingabout 55 to 60% of silica dust and the balanceamphibole minerals causes lung diseases byinhalation of the same.
1.3 Tailings Treatment
In recent years, the treatment of the final tailingshas attracted increasing interest. Pre concen-tration of such tailings is usually required toallow satisfactory gold extraction and economicviability. One of the proven pre concentrationmethods is the classification and gravityconcentration.Recovery via gravity is one of the oldestmineral processing methods available to treatthese tailings. Recently, with the push towardsmore sustainable environmental outcomes, the benefits of gravity separation have become moreapparent compare to the other chemicaltechniques.Taking in to these considerations an attempthas been made to recover the precious residualgold as well as valuable coarse sand for fill thevoids in under ground stopes from old dump witha target of low capital costs, low environmentalimpact and maximum return.
By considering the high demand of filling sand inunder ground and value addition of goldrecovery, the plans has been made and test work was conducted in a sequence to reduce processcosts. Studies were conducted in the laboratorystage for finding the suitable process route totreat the old abandoned tailings with mosteconomical feasible way.Some of the available economic tailingtreatment process routes are:i.Direct cyanide leaching & classification.ii.Falcon concentration, concentrate leaching &classification.iii.Classification & classified sand leaching.For preliminary evaluation of the abovetailing treatment processes, and finding out theaverage gold content and coarse sand availability,samples were collected from 26 locations of olddump at different levels at a depth of 10-15 feets,and thoroughly mixed, homogenized sample wastaken for the study. The average gold value of these samples was 0.66 g/t and 39% by weight being +325 mesh in size.The mineralogy of the old dump sand isgiven in Table-1; the material is a rock powder with predominantly grey to brownish grey colour and some slightly recessed light colour.The analysis confirms that coarser fractions(+325#) is about 39% by weight having anaverage assay value of about 0.5 – 0.7 g/t and61% by weight of fine fraction also contains goldof 0.4 g/t. Considering the above analysis andmannual panning clearly shows some of theliberated gold present in these dumps and planshas been made to find the maximum goldrecoverable from these tailings by cyanidationwith respect to time, cyanide dosage and alsohydrogen peroxide addition as an oxidant. Theleaching tests were conducted in Lab Jar mills.
Mineralogy of Hutti Old Dump Tailings
Quartz60-65 %Carbonates10-15 %
Vantage of Gravity Separation Techniques to …
Mica + Chlorites20-25 %Geothite1 %

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