How to Set Up and Develop a Geometallurgical Program - Geological Survey of Finland

SIMON MICHAUX & LOUISA O'CONNOR

Simon Michaux - Associate Professor Geometallurgy Geological Survey of Finland/Geologian tutkimuskeskus
Louisa O’Connor - Adjunct Senior Research Fellow. Western Australia school of Mines, Curtin University.
Adjunct Associate Professor, WH Bryan centre, University of Queensland, Honorary Fellow, Rio Tinto Centre for Min

ABSTRACT

Geometallurgy is a comparatively new discipline in mining that involves the fundamental integration of multiple conventional technical areas of the industry, where the outcome is a genuinely new methodology. It can be a daunting prospect to be tasked with designing and justifying a comprehensive geometallurgical program. The task could be starting a program from scratch or collating existing information to re-analyze as a pre-cursor to a program extension.


Commonly it is seen as purely the relationship between metallurgical testing and process mineralogy, although this is not incorrect, it is only part of the whole program. The discipline covers many areas across the Mine-Value-Chain. Geometallurgy is an appreciation of the prediction of rock behavior, being subject to an engineering outcome; this is in context of the engineering processes.

This paper discusses setting of strategic geometallurgy goals, how they could be used and maps out a step by step procedure experimental design. Different methods for characterizing ore at different scales is discussed. The different kinds of ore test characterization methods are discussed in context of conventional tests and the smaller scale proxy comparative tests, for comminution, flotation and leaching.


Various methods of data analysis to bring all these different technical disciplines together are also discussed. There are many valid definitions and approaches to this methodology. This paper represents just one approach to this subject.

Keywords

Geometallurgy, comminution, flotation, hydrometallurgy, mining, SEM automated mineralogy, data analysis, campaign, core imaging, ore characterization, ore body knowledge, batch flotation, impact breakage, Bond Ball Work index, leaching, comparative test, experimental design.

ISBN Number - ISBN 978-952-217-409-3

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