The Lihir Gold Project: Pressure Oxidation Process Development

Collins, M. J. ; Berezowsky, R. M. G. S. ; Han, K. N. ; Ketcham, V. J. ; Queneau, P. B. ; Stojsic, A. ; Vardill, W. D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 18
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The bulk of the ore found in the Lihir Island deposit is refractory in nature, with the gold contained in auriferous pyrite. In support of an evaluation of the development of this deposit by Kennecott (a wholly owned subsidiary of RTZ) and Niugini Mining Ltd., testwork has been carried out at the Sherritt Research Centre to demonstrate the amenability of the Lihir ore to pressure oxidation pretreatment to liberate the refractory gold. The results of pilot plant treatment of the Lihir ore in a continuous circuit with a feed rate of between 10 and 30 kg/h ore are described. The integrated circuit comprised pressure oxidation, residue washing, and gold recovery from the washed residue by carbon in leach or carbon in pulp cyanide leaching. Significant factors affecting gold recovery included temperature and retention time in the pressure oxidation step, and the concentration of soluble chloride in the feed. Gold extraction from well washed ore, after oxidation at 210°C for 66 minutes in the autoclave, was typically between 94 and 96%, compared with less than 30% by direct cyanidation.
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