Winter field test for heap leaching Carmacks copper ore in Canada's Yukon Territory

McNaughton, K. ; Schlitt, W. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
A heap-leach field test was conducted during the 1993-1994 winter season at Carmacks, Yukon Territory, Canada. The purpose of the test was to demonstrate the viability of heap leaching Carmacks oxide copper ore in an arctic setting on a year-round basis. The test itself utilized a 5-m-diam crib loaded with 250 t of composite ore from the Carmacks copper deposit. The ore was stacked to a total height of 7 m in the crib, including 1 m of ore as an over- layer above the emitter system. This matched the plan for the commercial heap at the time when the test was started. The design also replicated an interior segment of the commercial heap. Leaching was done at a flow rate of 0.2 L/min/m2 using leachate at 21 °C. This temperature was maintained with no external heat input other than normal process heat transferred from electrowinning to the leachate via solvent extraction. Winter conditions were quite typical of those expected at the mine site. The temperature reached -54°C, while averaging -13°C over a three-month period. In spite of some flow system problems, leaching continued unabated, and freezing was limited to the insulating ore over-layer and isolated points near the outer crib walls. Thus, the test demonstrated that year-round heap leaching of Carmacks copper ore is practical in an arctic setting.
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