Reprocessing Of A French Guyana Operation Tailings Using Flotation For Gold Concentration - Introduction - Preprint 09-062

Durance, M. V.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009
Compagnie Miniere Esperance (CME), a mining company based in French Guyana, operates a gold primary ore body in open pit. The ore is processed through crushing, grinding and gravity separation. Tailings are stored in a ?fine? pond. Analyses of the fine ponds proved a residual gold grade sufficient for a chemical treatment. However, direct cyanidation would require a too large installation, regarding the local conditions (accessibility, supplying and rainforest meteorological conditions). It has been then decided to test the feasibility of a pre-concentration using flotation. Lab tests have been carried out by SGS Lakefield (Canada) in March 2007, which proves the technical feasibility. Therefore, CME asked Caspeo to: ? Carry out an on-site flotation pilot campaign. ? Design an industrial flotation circuit. The tailings reprocessing will contribute to a better tailings management and a dry up of the gold resource, limiting the risk of illegal mining after remediation of the CME site. CME MINE The Esperance gold mine is located in French Guyana, in the vicinity of several gold deposits as Omaï, Rosebel or Camp Caïman, holded by Iamgold and Newmont. These main gold deposits are located on the figure 1. Esperance was put into operation in the early 90?s. The first years were devoted to the mining of alluvial gold in the gravel of the Esperance Creek. Since then, operation was led in the primary gold deposit. Annual production is on average 254kg for a total production in fifteen years of 4300kg. Geology Esperance deposit is located in the greenstone belt of the Guyana Shield. Mineralization is in tectonic contact between sedimentary basin of Maroni and a granitic massif. Clastic series, composed of conglomerate and lamina sandstone, overlie a volcano-sedimentary basement (series called "Paramaca"). The area is strongly folded by shear movements, resulting from granite deposit. Gold is in interlacing quartz veins intersecting the clastic series. Gold is present in association with pyrite. Other elements, as silver or arsenic, are in negligible quantity. Exploitation The Maroni River is the only access to the Esperance mine. Only the saprolite and a part of the transition rock are extracted in the open pit. Excavation works are done using shovels Hyundai 450 (4 units) and haulage works using articulated dumpers Terex TA35 (4 units). These two sorts of equipments are presented figure 2. Mill The mill is composed of crushing and grinding processing plants. After gravity concentration, both plants produce tailings that are stored in two ponds: the first pond contains coarse product which segregates the particles crushed to 2mm upstream and settled clays downstream; the second pond contains the fine product made of particles ground to 200µm. These two ponds, bordered by dams and diversion canals, are located on former alluvial sites of Esperance Creek (see figure 3). [ ] The CME mill is currently producing gold concentrate, with a global recovery of about 67%. The ore is crushed by one jaw crusher and two hammer crushers. The ore then passes through a Knelson KC 48 gravity concentrator, producing a first gold concentrate. The
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