Testing of Ore

McClelland, Gene E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
4.1 INTRODUCTION Metallurgical testing is required on any ore, waste or tailing material before amenability to heap leaching treatment can be accurately determined. The amount of testing necessary to determine and optimize heap leach amenability and conditions for any feed material is determined by the ore type, grade, size of deposit, and the overall financial commitment a particular company is willing to make. It is very easy to either "under-test" or "over-test" a particular deposit or feed material. A good heap leach testing program will provide the necessary design information without "bogging" down in too much detail. The three basic stages of ore testing include: • Preliminary--bottle roll tests and small column percolation leach tests; • Detailed--larger column tests, different feed sizes, and feed size optimization; and • Pilot-Scale--Column or field heap. The following subchapters describe the stages of heap leach testing necessary to put a viable property into production. 4.2 PRELIMINARY METALLURGICAL TESTING The two types of preliminary tests that can be undertaken include bottle roll or cyanide agitation tests and small column leach tests. Each of these is described below, along with information about what the test results provide in terms of furthering knowledge of ore qualities. 4.2.1 Bottle Roll Tests The first step in a heap leach testing program is preliminary bottle roll tests at a relatively coarse feed size to determine the ore's leachability. Bottle roll tests are usually conducted on reverse circulation drill cuttings samples (= 1/4 inch (6 mm) in size). Bottle roll tests provide initial information about precious metal recovery, recovery rate, and reagent requirements. The recovery results are to be considered maximums because attrition grinding creates fines and liberates recoverable values that would not be liberated from the material during a static leach. Bottle roll tests can be conducted on up to 25 lb (11 kg) ore charges of up to two inches (50 mm) in size. However, the coarser the feed the more attrition grinding occurs during rolling.
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