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Enhancing Percolation Rates in Heap Leaching of Gold-silver Ores.

Heinen HJ; McClelland GE; Lindstrom RE
NTIS: PB 80-112279 :20 pages
To maximize productivity through improved minerals processing technology, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, is investigating particle agglomeration techniques as a means of increasing the percolation rates of leach solutions in heap leaching of clayey gold-silver ores. Simulated heap leach experiments were conducted on 50-pound charges of ore that were contained in 5.5-Inch- diameter columns, 5 feet in height. Results indicated that the percolation rate of cyanide leach solution could be enhanced markedly by mixing the ore with controlled amounts of lime, flocculants, and water, and then aging the mixture prior to the column leach step. Experimental results obtained on 20-mesh silver tailings and gold ore crushed to 3/8 inch and to 1 inch showed that it was possible to increase percolation rates as much as 100-fold without sacrificing silver-gold extraction. Larger scale tests conducted in 24-inch-diameter, 16-foot-high columns closely paralleled bench-scale results. By improving percolation leaching, these techniques have the potential of helping to solve environmental problems associated with tailings disposal as well as making an important economic impact on gold-silver recovery operations. Investigations are continuing to develop binders superior to lime for particle agglomeration pretreatment.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigation;
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 8388
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 80-112279
Page last reviewed: December 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division