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Insights into Ferric Leaching of Low Grade Metal Sulfide-Containing Ores in an Unsaturated Ore Bed Using X-ray Computed Tomography

Dobson, KJ; Harrison, STL; Lin, Q; Bhreasail, AN; Fagan-Endres, MA; Neethling, SJ; Lee, PD; (2017) Insights into Ferric Leaching of Low Grade Metal Sulfide-Containing Ores in an Unsaturated Ore Bed Using X-ray Computed Tomography. Minerals , 7 (5) , Article 85. 10.3390/min7050085. Green open access

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Abstract

The distribution of the metal-bearing mineral grains within a particulate ore prepared for leaching, and the impact of this spatial heterogeneity on overall extraction efficiency is of key importance to a mining industry that must continuously target ever-reducing grades and more complex ore bodies. If accessibility and recovery of the target minerals is to be improved, a more detailed understanding of the behaviour of the system must be developed. We present an in situ analysis using X-ray computed tomography to quantify the rates of volume reduction of sulfide mineral grains in low grade agglomerated copper bearing ores during a miniature laboratory scale column leaching experiment. The data shows the scale of the heterogeneity in the leaching behaviour, with an overall reduction of sulphide mineral grains of 50%, but that this value masks significant mm3 to cm3 scale variability in reduction. On the scale of individual ore fragments, leaching efficiency ranged from 22% to 99%. We use novel quantitative methods to determine the volume fraction of the sulfide that is accessible to the leachate solution.

Type: Article
Title: Insights into Ferric Leaching of Low Grade Metal Sulfide-Containing Ores in an Unsaturated Ore Bed Using X-ray Computed Tomography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/min7050085
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/min7050085
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Physical Sciences, Mineralogy, Mining & Mineral Processing, X-Ray Tomography, Leaching, Chalcopyrite, Copper Sulfides, Microtomography, Chalcopyrite, Microorganisms, Acquisition, Performance, Particles, Kinetics, Drainage, Reactors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10049129
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