Designing and Operating Heap Leaching Processes with Both Eyes Open

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Process engineering principles are used to analyse the features of leaching processes for large masses of low grade, unprocessed ore. Different performance characteristics are related to the numerous variants of these processes. The variant for which reagent enters a heap only via the input solution is further subdivided into three modes of operation. The three modes may occur in testwork and full-scale operations; the effects of process variables on the rate of the process are completely different in each mode. The mode can be identified by the time at which reagent first appears in the pregnant solution. It is related to the ratio of the height of the heap and the thickness of a band of ore in which the reactions are localised. Synthesis of the phenomena occurring within a heap via a computer program has produced a quantitative relation for the reaction band thickness. The program has been validated for several different systems. The overall achievement is that the mode of operation and the rate of the process can be forecast before column testwork is commenced. Some applications of the outcomes to testwork, process design and operational tactics are described.
Full Article Download:
(842 kb)