Hydrometallurgy: Leaching in Heap, Vat, CIL, CIP, Merrill–Crowe, SX Solvent Extraction

Hydrometallurgy: Leaching in Heap, Vat, CIL, CIP, Merrill–Crowe, SX Solvent Extraction

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Size for required agglomeration in heap leaching (2 replies)

4 years ago
Millza79 4 years ago

Is there a particle size where agglomeration is NOT required prior to heap leaching? I am reading a testwork report, where the fine fraction (half inch) was  agglomerated, but the coarse size fraction 92 inch) wasn't agglomerated.

4 years ago
David 4 years ago

See page 244 of S.C Bouffard research paper.

4 years ago
SmartDog 4 years ago

A simple answer is that particle size and shape are two important parameters in optimizing heap permeability. Without agglomeration, fines clog spaces between larger ore particles in the ore bed, preventing the leachate from flowing through and ultimately reducing the amount of recovered ore. A similar issue can exist when a wide range in particle size distribution results in segregation of particles. 

Agglomeration is used to create particles that are more uniform in both size and shape. This uniformity creates a more loosely packed bed, which promotes channels or pathways between particles in the ore bed through which the leachate can flow more freely. 

So in general you want to minimize the amount of fines, particular the minus 6.3 mm (1/4").   Using the 12.5 mm (1/2") particles gives the fines some larger particles to stick to.

The corollary is you do not want too many very large particles.

But then every project is different, so you follow David's post to determine what your project needs.

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