Targeted Mineralogy in Informing Compositing and Detailed Analysis for Geometallurgy: A Cu Porphyry Case Study

Additonal authors: Chudy, T. 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

Hamilton, C. C.

The selection and provision of mineralogical services to assist in developing a GeoMetallurgical program for a Cu Porphyry Mine in South America is covered in this paper and presentation. The objectives of the study were to provide a rapid mineralogical scoping protocol to support and confirm results of sequential Cu leach data and to provide detailed mineralogical analysis of four composites and products on which locked cycle test-work were performed. Results showed good reconciliation was achieved between measured chalcopyrite and secondary Cu mineral contents with leach data using a linear intercept mineralogical procedure by TIMA (Tescan Integrated Mineral Analyser), as well as a generally positive correlation between pyrite and Cu-sulphide grain size. Size-by-size analysis of Composite feeds and test products was used to outline comparisons between feeds on a mineralogical basis and provide liberation and association data with which to diagnose and better explain performance. Identifying key mineralogical drivers to Cu recovery and concentrate grades using these results, a greater understanding of the role of chalcocite and pyrite on metallurgical performance was established. INTRODUCTION As a global supply of copper, porphyry copper deposits are typically very large, often in excess of a billion tons of ore (Keeney, Walters, & Kojovic, 2011; McMillan & Panteleyev, 1980) with grades typically between 0.2 and 1.2% Cu, and up to 2% Cu in places. They are also a source of gold. The complexity of copper porphyries arises from their classically zoned nature, the type of host rock, as well as whether or not they have been overprinted by oxidation, weathering and supergene enrichment (Sillitoe, 2011). Zones of alteration and other geological attributes give rise to varied mineralogy, ore mineral textures and material properties, all of which result in different processing characteristics. Due to the interdependencies of geological and processing characteristics, it is vital to study links between the geology at the macro-scale and mineralogical features down to millimeter and micrometer scale (mineral content and texture) and their influences on mineral processing behaviour (Cropp, Goodall, & Bradshaw, 2013). The growing field of GeoMetallurgy aims to provide an Orebody Knowledge framework by which to gather such information as it pertains to: (1) Understanding and predicting likely flotation response; (2) Guiding relevant test work to investigate and validate links, interdependencies, theories and data interpretation/evaluation; (3) Populate a block model with relevant information and; (4) Implement and refine the model for ongoing optimization and control. Specific questions addressed by using mineralogy often include flotation diagnostics as aids to interpretation, causes of dilution and losses to tailings, as well as guidance to sampling for test work (Cropp et al., 2013).
Mots Clés: Copper 2019, COM2019