MINING MAGAZINE CONGRESS 2010

Advances in Gold Process Recovery From Complex Ores
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Presented by Dean Mitchell, Senior Metallurgist Mineral Engineering Technical Services Pty Ltd © 2010

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Who We Are

Mineral Engineering Technical Services > 22 years in Mineral Processing
> Global & Local Experience > Consulting > Studies

> Detailed Design
> Due Diligence, Ni, U, Pb-Zn, Au, Cu, Fe, Al > Laboratory Testwork

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Introduction

> Mineralogy

> CIP was a quantum leap in technology- now mature
> Gravity gold advances > Leaching advances > Stripping advances > Electrowinning advances > General discussion

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Gold Can Be Free Milling & Refractory

Gold & Silver Ores

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Complex & Refractory Gold Ores
> Ores which give poor recoveries when treated with conventional methods

>
>

Complex sulphide ores
Causes of refractory ores
– – – – – – Fine gold in sulphides Insoluble gold compounds Coating on the gold Preg-robbing gangue minerals Cyanide and oxygen consumers Deleterious elements Cu, Sb, As etc

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Mineralogy Click to edit Master title style

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Gold Can Be Difficult & Complex
> These are at ppm levels > Free milling oxide ores straight forward > MLA (Qemscan) may tell you if the gold is associated with say pyrite or arsenopyrite

> MLA will describe the minerals and liberation has a problem with low levels of gold
> Concentration of the sample assists optical assessment. SEM. would be necessary to describe the gold in the mineral

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QEMSCAN Or MLA & SEM

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Samples

> > > > > > > > > >

Geometallurgy Drill core not RC chips Sample all ore >10% Include mine waste 10%? Geology- recognise ore domains Mineralogy Processing Economics Risk management Metallurgical mapping

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Flowsheet Selection

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Flowsheet Selection
> > > > > > > > > > > Free milling gold ores- oxide & sulphide- gravity recovery Transition ores Complex ores- cyanide, oxygen consuming or preg robbing Refractory- slightly or highly- roast, bacterial, POX, UFG Ore variability, nature of the gangue Comminution circuits Gravity Flotation Leaching Adsorption Stripping

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Gravity Gold Recovery

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Advantages Of Gravity
> Faster cash flow > Higher overall recovery > Lower unit cost > Reduced CIP feed grade > Improved leach kinetics > Reduced carbon loading > Reduced locked-up gold in circuit > Reduced cyanide consumption > Environmentally-friendly

> The late Andre Laplante used the term-”recovery effort”

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Shaking Table Mechanics
> >
>

Minerals are subjected to two forces Table motion:
– – – Moves the particles across the table Moves the particles down the table Effect depends upon the size and density of the particles

Fluid flow :

> >

The net result is particles move diagonally across the deck But also fan out along the table
FEED

ater Wash W

Dense Material

VIBRATION

Riffles

Light Material Middlings

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Gravity Gold Equipment
> Knelson Concentrator-CD,MD,XD models
― ― ― ― ― First concentrator 50 “g” to 200 “g” Spinning bowl, VG package Requires fluidising water Batch or semi batch Riffled cone, motor, perforated bowl

>

BCC-Batch centrifugal concentratorsyields 0.05%
CGR-Continuous gravity concentrators10% -20% yield
> Revolutionised fine gold recovery

>

>

Falcon Concentrator-C,SB,UF models
― ― ― ― C-300 “g”, UF 650 “g” Spinning bowl SB most common Cyclone feed application

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Gravity Gold Equipment (cont)
> Kelsey Jig
– – Cylindrical spinning jig using ragging Less commonly used for gold

> Inline Pressure Jig (IPJ)
– – – Low water consumption Very good coarse gold Stroke can be varied

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Gravity Gold Equipment (cont)
> Multi-Helix Spiral

> Low-G Horizontal Centrifuge
– – Effectively shaking tables wrapped around a cylinder Use is not widespread

> Equipment selection depends on the results required-IPJ coarse gold, Falcon/Knelson for fine gold

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AMIRA P420 Project
> Model for predicting gravity gold recovery

> More suited to optimising recovery for Brownfields projects
> Requires 3 stage GRG test > Parker Centre has an extensive data base

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Piloting Gravity Circuits

> Rare for Greenfields projects

> Very costly and difficult to justify
> More common for Brownfields projects

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CAPEX
> Gravity concentrator circuit
― Approximately AU$1 million based on a 1.2 Mtpa gold project ― For larger plants the cost is higher

> Intensive leaching
― Between approximately AU$600,000 to AU$900,000

> The economic justification current cut point for most projects is 20% gravity gold recovery

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OPEX
> Centifugal concentrators have operating costs between $0.08 to $0.12 per tonne of new feed

> Costs include:
― ― ― ― Power Water Spares Maintenance

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Process Risks & Problems
> Testwork not based on representative samples
― Mt McClure ― Resolute, Southern Cross ― Bronzewing, Granites

> > > > >

Presence of galena and tramp iron for tabling Poor planning and/or execution of the testwork Poor interpretation of the results Insufficient bleed of re-circulating load Incompatible feed
― Too coarse ― Too dense ― Too many flakes

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Trends With Gravity Gold
> Transition from batch to continuous operation > Gradual replacement of inefficient equipment > Increased capacities all machines > Increased mass recovery from <1% to >10% > Recovering gold as a by-product > Use of intensive leaching to process concentrates

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Examples Of Installations
> IPJ’s at Ballarat Goldfields
― >300 installed worldwide

> IPJs at Pirquitas mine Argentina
> Kelsey Jigs, Barrick Granny Smith, WA
― 2 by J1800 jigs

IPJs at Ballarat Goldfields

KnelsonXD70 at Paracuta, Brazil

Gekko IPJ Pirquitas mine, Argentina

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Examples Of Installations (cont)
> Falcons-Sadiola, Mali
― 2 by SB 5200-6.9 &14.8 increase recovery on oxide and sulphide ore

> Falcons-Telfer, WA
― 8 by SB5200

> Falcons-Kansanshi Copper, Zambia
― 4 by SB5200

> Falcons-Sekisovskoye, Kazakhstan
― 1 by C2000 ― Overall increase 5% recovery

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Example Installations
> Knelson XD70 at Paracuta mine Brazil

> Knelson- Kinross, Alaska
― 1 by XD 70 ― 1 by CS6000 Acacia reactor

> Knelson-Vasgok, Kazakhstan
― 2 by XD70

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Intensive Leaching

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Flowsheet Acacia Reactor

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In Line Leach Reactor

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Developments

> Continuous ILR > Automation

> Modular Supply

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Cyanide Leaching

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Cyanide Leaching

Sodium cyanide: - used for leaching gold and silver from their ores:

2 Au  4 NaCN  O2  2H 2O  2 NaAu (CN ) 2   2 NaOH  H 2O2
Preg Robbing- kerosene passivation Lead Nitrate, Oxygen Sparging to maximise kinetics

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Oxygen Sparging

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IsaMill for Fine Grinding Fine Gold

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Cyanide Soluble Copper & Nickel

pH-Potential Diagram for the copper-cyanide-water system
2.0

Cu2+ CuO
1.0

CuO22-

Cu2O Cu(CN)320.0

Cu(CN)2-

Eh

Cu
-1.0

Cu2O

[Cu] = 10-4 M [CN] = 10-3 M
-2.0 0.0 4.0 8.0 pH 12.0 16.0

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Other Advances
> CIL not CIP > Silver ores > Complex sulphides > Kemix screens > Pump cells > Cyanide DETOX

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Bacteria Leaching
> Common bacteria Thiooxidans Ferrooxidans

> Bioleaching performed on:― Gold/Copper

― Zinc ― Uranium ― Nickel ― Cobalt

> Bioleaching oxidises the metal and dissolves it into the solution

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BacTech / Mintek
> This involves bio-leaching of secondary sulphides with mesophiles at 36-40ºC, and moderate and extreme thermophiles for chalcopyrite at 45-40ºC and 70ºC respectively

> Ultra-fine grinding assists greatly with the process
> The process usually occurs in a slightly acidic environment > The BacTech process has been applied to a 500 kg/day plant in Mexico

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POX Gold Sulphide Concentrates
> Chemistry ok, fast kinetics, recovery 96%+

> Stable waste productsarsenates
> Materials of construction problematic > Operability- difficult > History- poor

> Future- very promising

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Albion
> Developed by MIM (now XSTRATA) Requires ISAMILL fine grinding Atmospheric leach conditions- no pressure- 70C High recoveries +95% Pilot plant Brisbane

>

>

>

>

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Intec Gold Process

>

Leach without Cyanide?

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Resin Adsorption

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Ion Exchange

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Advantages/Disadvantages Of Resins
> Advantages
― ― ― ― ― ― ― ― Not poisoned by organics – no thermal regeneration Unaffected by clay ores Do not absorb calcium – reduced acid washing requirements Improve recovery in the presence of preg-robbing ores High selectivity resins offer advantages with Cu/Au ores High loading capacity (100,000 g/t) and faster loading kinetics Better abrasion resistance (5 g/t) Reduced capital costs for small to medium operations

> Disadvantages
― ― ― ― Smaller particle size – 0.8-1.2 mm – screening more difficult Strong base resins less selective for gold over base metals compared with activated carbon Resin is approximately ten times more expensive than carbon ($30,000/t) Database of experience is limited

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Penjom Gold Project

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Stripping Or Elution

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Elution – AARL, Zadra

> Elution is a reverse process to adsorption > Gold can be stripped off by disruption of thermodynamic equilibrium between gold in solution and gold on the carbon > Equilibrium Disruptive features:– – – High temperatures Lack of cations (Ca2+ , Mg2+, etc) High anion concentration (CN-, OH-)

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Integrated Pressure Stripping (IPS)

> IPS involves
― Acid washing ― Stripping ― Electrolysis

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IPS
> Advantages
― Water quality is not a limitation ― Higher temperatures
• Faster • More efficient than pressure Zadra

― The same capital cost but lower operating cost over time ― A reduced need for reactivation ― A safer operation as no cyanide is used

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Electrowinning

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Electrochemical Series

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Electrowinning

> Self sludging cells > Stainless steel wool > Wash gold from wool using HP water > Faster cashflow- smelt same day

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EMEW Cell
> Cell efficiency drops with solution tenor > Pre concentration would make these applicable > Could be used for ILR pregnant solution > Resin EMEW combination would have significant advantages

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EMEW Results - Ag Solutions

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New Uses of Old Technology Click to edit Master title style

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Cost/Revenue

> Silver price US$16.61/ounce
> Gold price US$1093/ounce (26th March 2010) > The refining charge is US$ 0.64/oz for both gold and silver. > Once Ag:Au ratio >10:1 Merrill Crowe preferable > Silver ores >50 g/t Ag, Merrill Crowe preferable > Elution of silver not cost effective - $800-$1000/tonne to strip carbon

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Leaching Characteristics
> Mineralogy dependent (Ag, Ag2S, etc) > High cyanide

> High DO
> Long leach times

> Chemical reaction:
4Au (s ) + 8NaCN (aq ) + O 2(g ) + 2H 2 O → 4NaAu(CN) 2(aq ) + 4NaOH(aq )

4Ag(s ) + 8NaCN (aq ) + O 2(g ) + 2H 2 O → 4NaAg(CN) 2(aq ) + 4NaOH(aq )

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Leach Kinetics

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Relative Kinetics Difference Silver Minerals

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Lead Nitrate Potential Benefits
> Lead nitrate addition is a function of the mineralogical composition of the ore:
― Removal of sulphide ions from solution by precipitation as lead sulphide, thus:
• Minimising the possibility of sulphide film formation on gold and silver surface • The formation of thiocyanates in the subsequent of cyanidation stage

― Improved passivation of reactive mineral surfaces due to the deposition of insoluble lead hydroxide precipitate

2S 2  2CN   O2  H 2O  CNS   2OH 
― Disruption of films or coatings on the gold or silver surface prior to cyanidation

Pb 2  2OH   Pb(OH ) 2

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Adsorption Character
EQUILIBRIUM RELATIONSHIP Gold on Carbon Vs. Gold in Solution

> Fleming k lower

100000

> More stages
> Higher carbon inventory > Load capacity Au +Ag
Gold on Carbon g/t

10000

1000

100

10 Equilibrium Actual CIP

1 0 0.003 0.03 0.3 3 10

Gold in Solution mg/l

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Stripping Character

> Lower temperature for optimum silver > Silver complex less stable form metallic silver > Silver comes off first > Longer stripping times

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Electrowon Silver Profile

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Process Plants

> Waihi NZ-high silver CIP plant > Mt Muro-mixed CIP and Merrill Crowe

> Toka Tindung-CIP plant
> Kelian-CIP plant > Misima-CIP plant > Medusa-CIP plant > Casposo-Merrill Crowe plant

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Merril Crowe-Unit Operations
> Cyanide leaching
> CCD solid liquid separation > Clarification of pregnant solution > De aeration of clarified solution > Precipitation using zinc and Pb(NO3)2 > Filtration of precipitate, aciding > Smelting of precious metals

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Merrill Crowe Limitations
> Water balance > Effective settling rates and clear overflows. > Clarified liquor required - <1 ppm solids > De aeration of solutions - <1 ppm O2 > pH, CN concentration, DO, scale formation > Solution bleed (build up of zinc) > Reactive sulphides > Cementation - 0.33 g Zn/g Au

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Water Quality & Mass Balances
> Gravity circuits use large volumes of water and usually they require good quality water

> Reverse Osmosis

> Vacuum Distillation

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Conclusions
> Mineralogy is critical - variable
> Low ratio Ag/Au ores best treated using CIP/CIL > When ratio >10:1 Merrill Crowe is superior > Merrill Crowe is more capital intensive and water balance issues are a constraint

> Gravity processes not as efficient for silver ores
> Leaching silver ores requires higher cyanide, higher oxygen and longer leach times, resulting in lower silver recoveries > Silver increases the carbon inventory, reducing k values

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Gravity Circuit Conclusions
> Mineralogy drives the process > Gold price record > Advantages of gravity recovery > Equipment selection

> Sample selection, representivity
> GRG prediction > Qemscan-Nugget effect > Centrifugal concentrators are revolution > Water balance issues > Cyclone feed rather than underflow

> Sizing equipment
> CAPEX, OPEX > Process risks, problems > Examples

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Conclusions

> Silver strips first at a lower temperature during elution

> Electrowinning times are lengthened because of silver
> RIP may offer advantages in the future > EMEW cell or in combination with a smaller Merrill Crowe is likely in the future

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THANK YOU
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