CIP and RIP - Where To Next?

Fleming, Christopher A. ; Fleming, C. A. ; Virnig, M. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 15
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
THE CIP PROCESS "IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME? After its tentative introduction to the precious metals mining industry in the earlier part of this century, the carbon in pulp (CIP) process has now come of age, and is the process of choice on all new gold mills. Well over 50 percent of all gold that is mined each year is recovered by adsorption on activated carbon, and the percentage will increase in the years ahead, when old mills using Merrill Crowe technology come to the end of their lives, and as the proportion of world gold production from low-grade resources increases. The pioneering process development work in this field, which was mainly concerned with carbon elution, was carried out by Zadra and his colleagues at the United States Bureau of Mines in the early 1950's (Zadra et al., 1950, 1952), and led to the commissioning of the first large-scale, industrial CIP plant, at the Homestake Mine in South Dakota, in 1973 (Hall et al., 1974). From there, the process spread rapidly, firstly in South Africa in the late 1970's. and then throughout the rest of the gold producing world in the 1980's. There were several factors that led to the meteoric (by gold industry standards) acceptance and successful implementation of this new technology into gold processing operations worldwide. Firstly, and perhaps most fortuitously, the development of the technology closely paralleled the 1968 release of the gold price from the rigid constraints of the $35/oz. gold standard. With the value of the metal allowed, for the first time in modern history, to fluctuate in response to free market supply and demand forces, the gold industry witnessed an unprecedented boom as the price of their commodity increased ten-fold in a remarkably short period of time. This had several important spin-offs as far as new process developments were concerned: The profits realized by established gold-mining companies increased enormously and, consequently, there was more to spend on research and development and exploration for new deposits.
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