Engineering & Mining Journal

JAN 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 52 of 59

JANUARY 2019 • E&MJ 51 PROCESSING SOLUTIONS ed in larger geometallurgical programs, can defi ne areas of an orebody that may require different processing routes. To demonstrate a practical applica- tion of LA-ICP-MS to process mineralogy, data collected from a sulphide-rich heavy liquid separation and shaking table con- centrate from the Kipushi Cu-Zn deposit, Katanga, DRC was used to determine the proportion of Ge and Ga present in solid solution in sulphides and in discrete min- eral phases. The information was used to guide fl owsheet development in order to optimize Ge and Ga recovery. Newmont Mining Corp. recently list- ed laser ablation technology as one of six initiatives the company is using to leverage digitalization in its operations. Newmont said its Metallurgical Services (NMS) team is expanding mineralogy ca- pabilities through laser ablation, not only to signifi cantly reduce the wait time for results, but also to lower the cost of sam- ple processing by 75% compared with traditional third-party laboratories. Teledyne Cetac Technologies, a provider of sample handling and analysis products, recently introduced its HDIP software for la- ser ablation systems, explaining that it was designed to process imaging data quickly and effi ciently with powerful simplicity. The platform, according to the company, has a special toolkit specifi cally designed to process transient mass spectrometry data, with a specifi c emphasis on laser abla- tion-inductively coupled plasma-mass spec- trometry (LA-ICP-MS) imaging. This toolkit allows users to process complex LA-ICP-MS datasets in a reliable, transparent, and con- sistent manner in a matter of minutes. Ba- sic and advanced algorithms are provided to process the data, and 2D and 3D data visualization and inspections tools enable the user to investigate the data in-depth. Australian Firm Reports on Innovative Extraction Technique Cougar Metals, a Perth, Australia-based exploration and drilling company, recent- ly published an update on a test work program currently under way on an inno- vative hydrometallurgical extraction pro- cess for potential implementation at the company's Pyke Hill nickel cobalt laterite project in Western Australia. Cougar said it had carried out initial test work using historic reverse circulation drill spoil taken from the surface at Pyke Hill. Following a detailed review of this initial program, it determined that a more detailed series of tests is warranted. As a result, a drilling program is now being designed to retrieve representative metallurgical scale samples from the high-grade nickel and co- balt zones of the Pyke Hill orebody for use in the next phase of test work. The hydrometallurgical extraction pro- cess of interest to the company was de- veloped by Dr. Willer Pos, former director of AngloGold Ashanti in Brazil who has devised processes to extract metals from secondary sources. These processes have been adapted for the extraction of a range of metals from varying ore types, includ- ing nickel and cobalt from laterites. According to the company, the hydro- metallurgical process is yet to be fully op- timized; it currently employs a short leach time (<30 minutes) conducted at atmo- spheric pressure and with no additional heat. Cougar Metals said a commercial operation with these parameters would re- sult in a signifi cantly lower capital expen- diture requirement compared to current and other alternative processing routes. Cougar Metals' Executive Chairman, Randal Swick, commented, "We are very encouraged by these initial results, and al- though we are still in the early stages of in- vestigating this process, we believe it has the potential to provide Cougar with a near-term, low-cost route to production at Pyke Hill.

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