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Is amorphous silica a common mineral in ore deposits? (1 reply)

Simon-Flotation
2 weeks ago
Simon-Flotation 2 weeks ago

During a recent visit to a copper mine in Chile, plant metallurgists mentioned they got colloidal silica in their ore, and it cause some process problems. I guess it is non-crystalline silica or amorphous silica, it has the same chemical structure with quartz which is crystalline form of silica. 

It is very interesting to me. I am just wondering whether this type of silica is common in copper ore deposits?

Thanks for any comments.

Regards

Simon

jedreiergeo
3 days ago
jedreiergeo 3 days ago
1 like by David

The question here is what type of copper operation did you visit - one using heap/vat leaching or one using flotation? Amorphous silica is generated by the destruction of silicate minerals in copper leaching operations, where it is omnipresent in leach solutions. As for flotation operations, silica may be dissolved in ground waters within primary sulfide type copper deposits or it could possibly be generated by the combination of fine grinding of silicate minerals followed by their partial dissolution. Interesting question but the proper answer awaits a full description of the copper deposit and the mineral processing method.