Geology & GeoMetallurgy

Geology & GeoMetallurgy 2017-03-23T09:44:23+00:00
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Geometallurgy (3 replies)

Bill Fraser
1 year ago
Bill Fraser 1 year ago

Am looking for commentary on http://www.minassist.com.au/blog/geometallurgy-a-geologists-approach/

Coming from the point of view of a geometallurgist with a metallurgical background, there is still some way to go in terms of fusing the disciplines and that movement should come from both sides. The article correctly identifies the fundamental geological concepts a metallurgist must integrate into their understanding, albeit underplaying a healthy dose of mineralogical, ore genesis and economic understanding that is also required. However, 'domains' and 'ore types' are far too often used as convenient proxies for complex non-linear relationships. There is nothing wrong with that as a presentation tool, but the destruction of data inherent in 'chopping up' a continuous variable into classes is counter-productive for metallurgical work. See Figure 2 in the article for a prime example. This is a shift in the way geologists have worked since time immemorial and is an example of the movement required from both sides for a maximally productive fusion of the disciplines.

What do Geologists think?

https://www.911metallurgist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/geometallurgy.jpg
Marshal Meru
1 year ago
Marshal Meru 1 year ago

The critical importance of geometallurgy was presented at the Society of Economic Geologists conference in Tasmania September 27-30th 2015, which I attended. Geometallurgy and understanding mineralogy in terms of evaluating the bottom line in a mining operation, was the key take home message by BHP Billiton.

It is important for you all to realise that day to day quantitative XRD /XRF mineral analyses and a thorough understanding of Geometallugy is critical in terms of survival with marginal, low grade and mixed orebodies!! There needs to be continuity from the underground faces, to the crusher, to the conveyer belt, into the flotation plant, to the residue dam. Metals are being lost as we speak !!! My current XRD/XRF results from the Broken Hill mines are outstanding and support better recovery and profits. Both grainsize primary and secondary mineralogy are assessed.

It takes 20 minutes for each analyses and the results becomes a predictive tool. From this you will have a total miner mineral analyses which will tell you percentages of oxidised minerals, troublesome clays, micas etc. Then you will be able to predict the reagent matrix with confidence!! The quantitative XRD /XRF mineral analyses needs to be completed for every shift in a mining operation for it to work effectively. The interpretation is a critical and an important stage!!

I'm concerned about the future of our local mines in Broken Hill. Zinc is at its lowest for 6 years. Lead isn't that crash hot either. Glencore has recently cut 500,000 tonnes of mine cuts, see below: Glencore has recently announced 500,000 tonnes of mine cuts. Nyrstar has already shuttered two of its mines, Myra Falls in Canada and Campo Morado in Mexico, and is now actively considering mothballing another 400,000 tonnes of concentrates capacity, or around 200,000 tonnes of metal contained, "if the current depressed completed for every shift in a mining operation for it to work effectively. The interpretation is a critical and an important stage!!

I'm concerned about the future of our local mines in Broken Hill. Zinc is at its lowest for 6 years. Lead isn't that crash hot either. Glencore has recently cut 500,000 tonnes of mine cuts, see below: Glencore has recently announced 500,000 tonnes of mine cuts. Nyrstar has already shuttered two of its mines, Myra Falls in Canada and Campo Morado in Mexico, and is now actively considering mothballing another 400,000 tonnes of concentrates capacity, or around 200,000 tonnes of metal contained, "if the current depressed commodity price environment continues."

The two major companies in Broken Hill mine zinc and lead ores.

Conditions are now similar to when CBH Resources Pty Ltd sacked 50 of its workforce in September 2013. Both Broken Hill mining companies are not mining and recovering the maximum metals possible. This reflects on the bottom line.

The focus for me is on the way both Broken Hill mining companies coordinate, recover and mine and process the ores from different parts of each respective mine. The key word here is 'Geometallurgy' and the key component is combined XRD/XRF analyses.

Geologists must understand what they are mining!! Management need to focus on 'Geometallurgy' recovery and profit margins, prevent mine closures and preserve future jobs.

Zander Barcalow
1 year ago
Zander Barcalow 1 year ago

Tend to agree. The article does incorporate geological dogma; and I question whether it is meant to be understood by non-geologists particularly those who can understand the finer points such as the difference between a geological model and a geostats model. I have to admit I didn't understand the article (fully aware this confession opens up opportunity for lots of criticism) but consider I understood its purpose.

I think the purpose of the article is that: 'geology modelling is the foundation of geometallurgy'. This view will of course be endorsed by geologist. I am a touch concerned that the article (and corresponding comments) personifies the 'blind men and the elephant story' where those involved self-advocate their own contribution. I perhaps am a touch-negative as I have been exposed to 'geometallurgy groups' run by geologists. Mineral processing was not seen as a core activity; more a 'by-the-way' issue. I also notice the implied dismissiveness of clearly defining geometallurgy. I would definitely be an advocate of clear definition of what one is trying to achieve; rather than race off an simply develop a geological model without clear purpose.

i.e. "From a geologist’s point of view geological models form the starting point of successful geometallurgical studies. "

Of course that would the case from a geologists viewpoint; but what about from a Management viewpoint? I would say the starting point of successful geomet. study is to establish a competent team.

Ace Levy
1 year ago
Ace Levy 1 year ago

The critical importance of Geometallurgy was presented at the Society of Economic Geologists conference in Tasmania September 27-30th 2015, which I attended. Geometallurgy and understanding mineralogy in terms of evaluating the bottom line in a mining operation, was the key take home message by BHP Billiton. I also attended a one day Drill Core Measurements and Domaining for Geometallurgy workshop presented by CODES.

What is Geometallurgy?

‘A team based approach that documents variability within an orebody and quantifies the impact of geology and mineralogy on comminution, metallurgical response and metal; recovery processes. Results in a quantitative, spatially constrained database that can be integrated into 3-D block models and mine planning activities. An important tool is to reduce the technical risk associated with new mine developments of expansions.’

If you don’t include domains in your geological model then how are will you know and be able to predict the differences quantitative mineralogy. Understanding quantitative mineralogy on a daily basis is critical! Orebodies change every single day!! How will your metallurgists know what they are getting? How will they be able to predict and plan their chemical matrix. We MUST understand differences in mineralogy in our orebodies!

Management MUST realise they are throwing away valuable metals if they don’t have a cooperative team of geologists and metallurgists working on variables in the orebody on a daily basis!! The operation becomes too risky and is deemed to FAIL.

A mining operation really needs a specialist in both disciplines a 'Geometallurgist' with specialisation in mineralogy.

Geologists who ignore differences in quantitative mineralogy defined by geological domains are a liability to the company in my view.

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