The Feasibility of Precious Metals Recovery from a Hellyer Concentrator Tailing Following very Fine Grinding

Weller, K. R. ; Gao, M. ; Adair, B. J. I.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
The bulk scavenger tailing from Aberfoyle's Hellyer Concentrator, which represents about one-third of the total tailing, runs about 2.5-3 g/t gold and 140-200 g/f silver. Both values are very finely disseminated, particularly the gold. Aberfoyle wished to establish whether ultra-fine grinding followed directly by cyanide leaching could be applied to the tailing for recovery of gold and silver. The work comprised the determination of gold and silver recoveries as a function of grind size and leaching time, the specific energy consumption required for continuous wet grinding of the tailing to the specified product size in a small horizontal continuous stirred mill, and an estimate of the rate of media consumption. The maximum extraction of gold, 23.3% was obtained from the finest product, with the highest cyanide concentration and longest leach time, confirming earlier work. A similar result was obtained for silver. The specific energy requirement for milling rose from 27.7 kWh/t for a P80 of 8.1 um to 219 kWh/t for a Pea of 2.3 um. The consumption of ceramic media was about 1.6 g/kg of final product. An extensive QEM'SEM Trace Mineral Search on the unground tailing failed to identify any gold-bearing particles but did identify silver-bearing particles which displayed a variety of textural associations and liberation characteristics.
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