More Accurate, Fast, Simple, Profitable, Cheap, Relevant, Robust, Safe and Easy Gold Assays

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
A new gold cyanidation assay technique has been proven for a range of ores, where it has demonstrated benefits of being: ò Accurate (reduces the typical range of assay scatter almost three-fold, and avoids common fire assay interferences). ò Fast (under one hour, providing a quantum shift in space requirement and equipment utilisation each bottle roll can provide over 15 determinations per day). ò Simple (suitable for field application, no high skill or experience requirements). ò Profitable (reduced drilling, drilling time, ore misclassification and/or double handling after mining). ò Cheap (far lower cost than Fire or Aqua Regia Assays, ie LeachWELLTM costs around 10ó for a 20 g sample at 50 per cent solids, proportionately greater for larger samples eg $1 for 200 g samples which address most nugget effect problems). ò Relevant (distinguishes economic. ie cyanide-extractable gold, the only unequivocal value to use for true resource definition, mine planning and grade control). ò Robust (rough bucket chemistry of samplers does not seriously affect results). A new development is the provision of LeachWELLTM CAS, a solution, which also contains optimum cyanide and stabiliser concentrations; and offers greater: ò Safety (the dilute cyanide solutions are stabilised to avoid generating toxic HCN vapours; and present no cyanide dust or flying chips to deal with). ò Ease (a single squirt dispenses precise quantities of the entire reagent suite, avoiding multiple weighings). ò Reduction in total reagent costs. An inter-laboratory comparison on nine ore types, using two assay techniques (Fire Assay and Aqua Regia) involving 45 laboratories, has demonstrated that LeachWELLTM 60X assays for the samples tested, were equally or more reliable than typical Fire or Aqua Regia Assays. There is particularly great benefit in applying LeachWELLTM 60X assays to richer ores in comparison to Aqua Regia assays, which appear to be prone to very significant underassaying depending on individual analyst skills, and which often suffer greater nugget effects. The major impacts for heap leaching are that: ò Using the LeachWELLTM assay technique for grade control, ore of marginal grade is not accidentally discarded to waste or visa versa due to the scatter of assay data inherent in typical small charge (25 g) fire assays. ò LeachWELLTM assays very importantly report only that gold which will be recoverable in the heap, viz that which is liberated - an important factor where the coarse crush often leaves ten per cent of gold unliberated. These impacts are of particular importance for many ores (ie most of those recovered from open pit operations and at the margins of rich ore subject to slurry processing) subjected to heap leaching as the oxide zones often present major problems of nugget effects as well as mineralisation that cannot be accurately assigned through interpretation of clear structural controls.
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