Geometallugical Design for a Large Copper-Molybdenum Concentrator
Additonal authors: . Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019
Hatton, D. R.
To obtain sufficient material on which to perform copper-molybdenum separation testwork a variability set of drill hole reject samples amounting to several tons was put together to include the different ore types proportions expected in the copper circuit. The samples were treated in a copper circuit pilot plant and enough mass of bulk concentrate was recovered to conduct copper moly separation tests in the laboratory. Tests consisted of stage flotation reactor (SFR) rougher pilot plant tests, conventional laboratory rougher, cleaner and 4 stage open circuit cleaner tests. The mineralogical liberation analysis of the feed and concentrate was used to model the effect of liberation on the grade-recovery relationship of the different samples. Mineral kinetic parameters for the various samples were determined by calibration to the test data. The copper concentrate results as simulated from previous studies on the same deposit were used to simulate the variability in head grade and throughput expected for the feed to the copper molybdenum separation circuit for each of the first 10 years of production. This variation in feed was then simulated through the separation circuit to obtain optimised molybdenum grade recovery curves to forecast the circuit production for each of the first 10 years.
Incorporating Geometallurgy into the design for a copper molybdenum separation is especially challenging due to the low mass of final concentrate typically produced during testwork. This is due to the low molybdenum head grades and high overall molybdenum upgrading expected. With molybdenum head grades of around 300 ppm, 1 tonne of copper circuit feed is expected to produce around 300 g of molybdenum concentrate in the plant. In the laboratory however, this may end up only resulting in a few grams. Obtaining sufficient mass for laboratory testing therefore requires starting with a large initial sample and careful testwork planning to maximise the utilisation of this mass.
A testwork program was designed to investigate the effect of ore variability on the copper molybdenum separation circuit (here after referred to as the molybdenum circuit). Composite samples were selected to represent the various ore types, copper content, moly content, pyrite content and clay contents expected in the copper circuit feed. These samples were run through a bulk copper pilot plant to create the feed for the molybdenum testwork.
The molybdenum testwork consisted of rougher kinetic flotation tests, rougher cleaner kinetic tests, rougher cleaner kinetic tests with regrind, stage flotation reactor (SFR) pilot plant tests, open circuit cleaner tests. These tests were used to calibrate the ore kinetics in the IGS-FLEET model for simulation of the molybdenum circuit performance.
Copper 2019, COM2019