Pyrrhotite Rejection at Strathcona Mill - DETA/SMBS Plant Trials

Additonal authors: Deredin, C.. 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

Multani, R.

Glencore’s Strathcona Mill has recently evaluated a pyrrhotite depressant combination of diethylenetriamine (DETA) and sodium metabisulfite (SMBS) to improve its overall plant pyrrhotite- pentlandite (Po-Pn) selectivity, with the aim of producing a higher quality nickel concentrate. In a previous paper, key findings from a comprehensive lab-scale program (completed at the XPS Centre) were summarized where, of the depressants tested, DETA/SMBS combination was found to be the most effective in improving the Po-Pn selectivity. The present paper describes the metallurgical program recently completed at Strathcona Mill; DETA/SMBS evaluation on select plant “grab” samples as well as the major results of three DETA/SMBS plant trials conducted on several plant ore feeds (long-term testing). Interestingly, it was found that there was variable success in using DETA/SMBS depressants on the different plant ore feeds; DETA/SMBS (dosage: 25/50 g/t milled feed) on lower Cu feeds demonstrated a ~2% Ni recovery increase at the same Ni grade. On the other hand, higher Cu feeds demonstrated virtually no benefit from DETA/SMBS at the same plant dosage, suggesting that higher DETA/SMBS dosage (at specific locations) than that tested is required to overcome the increased Cu-DETA complexation for these particular feeds. Glencore Nickel – Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations owns and operates Strathcona Mill which has been processing Ni-Cu ores from the Sudbury Basin since 1968. The valuable sulfides are pentlandite (Pn) – (Ni,Fe)9S8 and chalcopyrite (Cp) – CuFeS2, majority of the sulfide gangue is pyrrhotite (Po) – Fe(1-x)S [0 < x ≤ 0.125] which is present in two forms: hexagonal Po (Fe9S10) and monoclinic Po (Fe7S8) (Multani & Waters, 2017; Lawson et al., 2014). Currently Strathcona Mill processes ore mined from two primary sources from the Sudbury area and produces two concentrate streams: (1) nickel-copper concentrate that is sent to the Sudbury Smelter; and (2) copper concentrate that is shipped to the Fonderie Horne (Glencore Copper, Rouyn-Noranda).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019