Use of Polymeric Agglomeration Aids to Improve Heap Leach Recovery and Profitability

Gross A E, ; Neville P C,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Over the last decade heap leaching with a cement binder has allowed the economical leaching of low grade gold ores of less than 2 grams/tonne. Despite the continued use of cement as an agglomeration aid, numerous leaching operations continue to experience channelling and blinding problems. This paper describes the development of polymeric agglomeration aids, Extract Ore 9760 and 9960, which when used as a partial cement or lime replacement can result in a higher rate of and/or a higher total gold recovery in plant evaluations. Extract Ore in combination with cement acts to produce a stronger agglomerate which results in reduced fines migration during leaching and helps prevent blinding of the heap. Both of these changes will give a more even flow of cyanide solution throughout the heap and improve solution contact efficiency within the ore. Polymeric agglomeration aid programs are now being used by heap leaching operations in three different countries. A summary of benefits identified at some of these operations are presented in this paper.
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