Modification of Heap Leach Characteristics with a Wetting Agent or a Flocculation Agent

Strickland R E J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
Heap leaching is establishing itself as an efficient method for the extraction of gold from low grade ore. It has the advantage of low capital costs, low operating costs and rapid startup. However, not all ores are amenable to heap leaching. It is only applicable to well oxidized ores that have reasonable permeability characteristics. Ore with excess fines or clay often display low permeability and are unsuitable for heap leaching.In this study, an attempt has been made to increase the rate of cyanide leach solution percolation by flocculating clay particles or reducing the surface tension of the leach solution. A wetting agent was found to decrease the rate of gold dissolution, possibly by presenting a hydrophobic surface to the gold particle. Flocculation of the clay increased the solution flow rate. The flocculation agent had no affect on the total gold leached but decreased the leaching rate.
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