Simulation of Copper Heap Leaching as an Aid to Design and Operation
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1989
Results are reported for the computer simulation of heap leaching of mixed copper oxide and sulphide ores. They resemble those obtained from testwork in terms of a substantial peak in the copper concentration of the pregnant solution, an initial period when no copper emerges and a lengthy period towards the end when the copper concentration and the daily increment in copper recovery are low. The simulation can be used to forecast process results before any column or similar testwork is performed. Potential applications of the simulation to process design, operating strategy and optimisation are discussed. Three modes of operation are identified that correspond to different performance patterns and dependencies on ore and process variables. The relative merits of different operating strategies for approaching the ideal performance are being investigated. For process design and development purposes, the simulation may be used with a limited testwork programme to achieve significant savings in time and resources.