Valery, Duffy, Holtham, Tabosa, Andrade
Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020
Pre-concentration has potential to significantly improve Mineral Resource efficiency by removing gangue early in the process, before energy intensive and expensive comminution and fine processing. However, there are numerous options for pre-concentration and the performance and benefits of these are very case specific.
To determine the best option for a particular deposit and to successfully integrate it into the overall mining and processing operations requires comprehensive evaluation. This needs to consider orebody suitability, technology capability and economic viability. The in-situ variability of a deposit and how it is influenced by mining methods and the liberation size of gangue are key factors which are generally not well understood.
Geostatistical methods provide an insight into orebody variability, and the overall selection of any pre-concentration solution must be an integrated approach between geology, mining and processing. Many pre-concentration evaluations investigate the potential of just one option. Technology selection should start wide and may include: selective mining, pre-screening (with or without selective blasting), sorting (bulk and or particle), coarse gravity separation (e.g. jigging, DMS), coarse particle flotation, magnetic separation, etc. The upgrade performance of these processes is very ore specific and should be determined from testing, with detailed multi-component modelling used to determine the overall process performance. Many of these pre-concentration processes require significant ancillary equipment, feed preparation and materials handling.
It is important to realistically estimate all costs to understand overall economics and select the best option. Some examples showing evaluation and comparison of pre-concentration options are presented in this paper. These include assessments of in-situ variability using geostatistical tools, process modelling of pre-concentration options and overall performance, preliminary layouts and cost estimates, and economic evaluations.
W Valery1, K Duffy2, P Holtham3, E Tabosa4 and B Andrade5
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