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Some factors influencing the gold recovery by oil agglomeration

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... Spherical agglomeration is a wet process in which size enlargement occurs among particles suspended in liquid phase (3). Oil agglomeration has been applied for fractionation of tincontaining ore (4), antimony ore (5,6) as well as for the beneficiation of gold ore and high ash content coal (7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26). These are few examples of the selective agglomeration. ...
Article
Considering the increasing environmental concerns and the potential for small gold deposits to be exploited in the future, the uses of environmentally friendly processes are essential. Recent developments point to the potential for greatly increased plant performance through a separation process that combines the cyanide and flotation processes. In addition, this kind of alternative treatment processes to the traditional gold recovery processes may reduce the environmental risks of present small‐scale gold mining. Gold recovery processes that applied to different types of gold bearing ore deposits show that the type of deposits plays an important role for the selection of mineral processing technologies in the production of gold and other precious metals. In the last 25 years, different alternative processes have been investigated on gold deposits located in areas where environmental issues are a great concern. In 1988, gold particles were first recovered by successful pilot trial of coal‐gold agglomeration (CGA) process in Australia. The current paper reviews the importance of CGA in the production of gold ore and identifies areas for further development work.
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In this study, the effect of pre-agglomeration on the flotation of fine-sized gold ore containing 11.3 g/t Au was investigated using olive and soybean oils. Firstly, the ore was floated using only collectors. Secondly, the ore was floated in the presence of vegetable oils and collectors. Finally, the effect of pre-agglomeration with graphite particles was tested again in the presence of two vegetable oils and collectors. In the first case, 93.8% gold recovery with 28.0 g/t Au grade was achieved. The gold recovery decreased to 79.8% with increased gold grade of 46.0 g/t Au when olive oil was used in flotation. Finally, the gold recovery decreased to 75.2% with an increased gold grade of 51.5 g/t when pre-agglomeration step was applied with the use of olive oil. Under the same flotation conditions, pre-agglomeration stage reduced the gold recovery but with increased gold grades.
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The effects of different physical parameters such as pulp density, aeration conditions, and impeller speed on the performance of coal-oil assisted gold flotation were investigated in this study. The experiments were conducted using samples taken from an epithermal gold ore deposit. The results demonstrated that increasing the solid concentration in feed pulp slightly improves recovery of gold particles, but accompanied by significant decreases in concentrate grade. At low aeration conditions gold recovery was relatively low whereas at high aeration conditions the selectivity was poor. The use of higher level of agitation in the agglomerate re-formation stage brought about an increase in gold recovery; however, gold grade of the concentrates tended to decline. Gold grade of the concentrate was significantly increased by reloading of the coal oil agglomerates; on the other hand, substantial decreases were observed in total gold recovery after each successive cycle.
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This paper describes the use of coal-oil agglomerates in flotation to increase the gold recovery from an ore containing fine gold particles. The effects of operating parameters on gold flotation recovery such as oil type, particle size of agglomerating material, agglomerate/ore and oil/ore ratios were investigated. The studies showed that petroleum oils are more effective than vegetable oils in oil agglomeration of Kozlu coal and coal-oil assisted gold flotation. Gold recovery can be increased using a higher amount of agglomerates in the process; however, gold grade of the flotation concentrates is reduced significantly. The use of bridging oil at high concentrations in the agglomeration process provides high-grade gold concentrates, but lower recoveries. The utilization of coarser coal particles in the coal-oil agglomeration stage leads to higher selectivity and recovery values for gold particles.
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The adhesion behaviour of gold particles to agglomerates of oil and carbon and the dynamic changes of the agglomerates during the contact process have been investigated. It is shown that the rate of adhesion of gold particles to agglomerates can be significantly increased by using xanthate collectors. It is further demonstrated that the longer the hydrocarbon chain of the xanthate molecule, the greater the rate of adhesion of gold to the agglomerates. The adsorbed gold particles do not markedly affect the adsorption activity of the agglomerates, i.e. recycling the agglomerates to increase the gold loading is feasible. Examination of gold-loaded agglomerates by scanning electron microscopy showed that in addition to individual gold particles, gold “flocs” and even “micro-nuggets” can be detected on the agglomerates. These flocs and nuggets are probably formed by the movement of initially adsorbed gold particles over the surface of the agglomerates. Both the composition and structure of the agglomerates change during the contact process. The oil tends to diffuse out of the agglomerates, and their oil content decreases with agitation. The gold particles can also migrate into the interior of the agglomerates due to their deformation resulting from agitation impact.
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Coal flotation is a complex process involving several phases (particles, oil droplets and air bubbles). These phases simultaneously interact with each other and with other species such as the molecules of a promoting reagent and dissolved ions in water. The physical and chemical interactions determine the outcome of the flotation process. Physical and chemical interactions between fine coal particles could lead to aggregation, especially for high rank coals. Non-selective particle aggregation could be said to be the main reason for the selectivity problems in coal flotation. It should be addressed by physical (conditioning) or chemical (promoters) pretreatment before or during flotation. Although the interactions between the oil droplets and coal particles are actually favored, stabilization of the oil droplets by small amounts of fine hydrophobic particles may lead to a decrease in selectivity and an increase in oil consumption. These problems could be remedied by use of promoters that modify the coal surface for suitable particle–particle, droplet–particle and particle–bubble contact while emulsifying the oil droplets. The role of promoters may be different for different types of coals, however. They could be employed as modifiers to increase the hydrophobicity of low rank coals whereas their main role might be emulsification and aggregation control for high rank coals. In this paper, a detailed description of the various phases in coal flotation, their physical and chemical interactions with each other in the flotation pulp, the major parameters that affect these interactions and how these interactions, in turn, influence the flotation process are discussed.
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Based on the theoretical analyses, the adhesion of fine gold particles to oil–carbon agglomerates was quantitatively investigated in terms of adhesion kinetics, rate constant, collision rate, attachment probability and surface energy change. The suitability of the special ‘first-order’ adhesion kinetics, which incorporates the common operating parameters, was confirmed. The relationship between the attachment probability and the surface energy change can be well described by a proposed ‘nucleation model’. Experiments about the influence of various factors, such as the use of different collectors, agglomerate size and agitation intensity, on collision rate, attachment probability and adhesion rate constant were conducted.
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There has been much interest in alternative fuels made from coal which is much more abundant than oil. The coal–oil–water slurry is a new type of oil-based synfuel composed of finely pulverized coal, oil and water. It has lower viscosity, lower ignition point and higher heating value than coal–water slurry. The preparation of stable water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion is critical for the success of production of stable coal–oil–water slurry. The present study was undertaken to experimentally investigate the effects of different process variables on emulsion stability. The emulsion was prepared using 100 ml colloid mill with sorbitan monooleate (SM) as emulsifier. The variables studied include emulsifier dosage, ratio of oil to water, stirring intensity, emulsifying temperature and mixing time. The results showed that the optimum process conditions are: emulsifier dosage, 0.5%; oil to water ratio, 1:1; stirring intensity, 2500 rpm; and mixing temperature, 30 °C.
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The objectives of this investigation were to study the zeta potential characteristics of a Powder River Basin coal in water and to study the effects of zeta potential on the agglomeration of coal particles. The electrakinetic measurements show that the zeta potential of the coal is dependent on pH, temperature, coal concentration and contact time with water. The effects of various additives for changing the zeta potential of the coal were also evaluated. It was found that the strength of the coal agglomerates is increased when the zeta potential diminishes. Neutralizing the zeta potential enhances agglomeration. Therefore, it is important to control the zeta potential of coal to achieve optimum performance in coal-particle agglomeration.
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The gold mining industry has mainly relied upon the use of highly polluting chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide to recover gold from its ores. The Coal Gold Agglomeration (CGA) process was developed some years ago and has the advantage in that gold is recovered by a procedure which has little or no negative impact on the environment. A gold ore containing liberated gold particles is contacted with coal-oil agglomerates, whereby the gold is recovered into the coal/oil phase. Laboratory scale batch tests were performed on an artificial mixture gold slurry and gold recoveries of up to 85% were found under optimized conditions. By recycling the coal/oil phase, it was found that the gold loading onto the agglomerates was increased. Tests performed on an industrial ore yielded slightly lower gold recoveries, and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis on the coal/oil phase showed that minerals other than gold was recovered into this phase. A comparative study was conducted whereby the CGA process was compared to mercury amalgamation. Gold recoveries obtained through amalgamation were 15% lower than by the agglomeration process, which indicates that this process can be considered favourably as an alternative to amalgamation.
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Native gold and electrum are naturally-occurring alloys containing gold and silver and a little copper. They are the most common and important forms of gold in ores. Their recovery by gravity concentration, cyanidation, or flotation from ores, typically containing 0.1–20 g/t Au is of great commercial importance. This paper reviews the literature on their recovery by flotation. Little mention is made of the recovery of other gold minerals, but some comments are made on the flotation of host minerals (iron and base metal sulphides).
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A study was conducted to optimize the separation phase of the coal gold agglomeration (CGA) process through a flotation technique. Batch tests were performed on a synthetic (7 g/t) gold ore containing a fine (±44 μm) gold powder. Agitating an industrial charcoal and oil in an aqueous suspension formed agglomerates. Following suitable agglomeration time, the ore slurry and the potassium amyl xanthanate (PAX) collector was added and stirring continued for 50 minutes before the separation was effected. The gold-loaded agglomerates and residue ore were then dried, ashed and treated with aqua regia and analyzed. During the experimental program, the process was scaled up from 150 millimeters to a one-liter flotation cell, and eventually to a three-liter flotation cell. Finally, the resulting data was analyzed.
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The aim of this work was to obtain high calorific value products from coal fines cleaning wastes by agglomeration with vegetable oils. These residues are mainly being disposed of in dumps, causing important economic and environmental problems. Three Spanish coal fines wastes from different coal cleaning plants were agglomerated with crude and refined sunflower and soybean oils over a wide range of oil concentrations. The response of these fines wastes to agglomeration with the oils, was evaluated by the percentages of coal matter recovery, ash rejection and efficiency index. Speaking in terms of products quality, the best results were attained at the lowest oil concentrations, especially when the refined ones were used. In these cases, the agglomeration with vegetable oils allowed the recovery from coal fines wastes of a ready to burn fine coal fuel.
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The present work deals with gold grains recovery by means of coal-oil agglomerates. Among several hydrophobic materials used, a specific type of coal proved to be more suitable to form agglomerates. Diesel oil, kerosene and vegetable oils were used as agglomerants. Three gold-containing materials were used in this work: an artificial mixture of sand and gold particles, a gravity gold concentrate and a gravity tailing. The best results, namely 90% of gold recovery, were comparable to those obtained by amalgamation. The preparation of agglomerates was carried out in a simplified way, i.e., in just one step. This process can be looked upon as a valid technical alternative to amalgamation.
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Gold recovery methods, which include gravity, flotation, amalgamation and leaching are again under scrutiny today to improve the recovery and decrease the deleterious affects of the processes on environment and human health. On the other hand, new gold recovery methods, which should be less harmful to the environment, in addition to providing higher recoveries than conventional gold processing methods, are also being investigated.In this study, the effects of the assay and particle size of gold ores on the efficiency of the coal-oil-gold agglomeration processes are investigated experimentally. The effects of these parameters are very important for determining the process efficiency for different ore types. In order to establish the effects of the parameters mentioned above, artificial ores, which have different grades and particle sizes, were utilized as feed materials in the experiments. In last decade, many researchers have studied the optimum oil, coal type and their consumption. Very encouraging results have been obtained (over 90% recovery) by working with high oil and coal consumption. In this study, the experiments were done by using these materials at minimum dosages to provide a method in the range of economic availability. At the end of our studies, it can be clearly said that applying the coal-oil-gold agglomeration method to assist gold flotation gives more desirable results in view of the agglomeration reagents and material consumption.
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The recovery of arsenopyrite from an arsenopyrite/pyrite ore is desirable for a number of reasons. This can be optimized using a two stage flotation process in which a dithiophosphate is added at pH=11 in the first stage and copper sulphate and a dithiocarbamate in the second stage. It was found that better separations were obtained when aged ore was used. It was possible to simulate this ageing process by heating. Various alkyl functional groups of the collectors were tested and the best separations were obtained using sodium isobutyl dithiophosphate and a mixture of 10% : 90% sodium cyclohexyl : n-propyl dithiocarbamate. This suite of collectors led to a recovery of 74.8% arsenopyrite and 8.4% pyrite with grades of 37.9% arsenopyrite and 11.6% pyrite respectively. The grades of gold in the feed, concentrate and tailings for these conditions were 8.10 g/ton, 271 g/ton and 2.55 g/ton respectively. This represented a gold recovery of 83.6%.
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Fundamental studies were undertaken to evaluate the underlying principles by which gold is recovered by coal-oil agglomerates. The effects of various parameters such as oil:coal ratios, agglomerate:ore ratios, pH and coal particle size on gold recovery were evaluated using synthetic gold bearing samples; bituminous coal; and diesel oil and kerosene. The effects of sulfides on gold recovery and the depth of gold particle penetration within the agglomerates were also investigated. Results showed that gold recovery was increased by increasing agglomerate:ore ratio, decreasing oil:coal ratio and decreasing coal particle size. There was no significant difference in gold recoveries at pH range of 4–12 and at up to 5% sulfides in the feed. Microscopic studies indicated that at prolonged mixing time, some gold particles were observed to have penetrated the agglomerates some 60 μm from the surface.
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Oil agglomeration is an effective technique for recovering and reducing the ash of coal fines. In this study, the effects of some parameters that markedly influence the effectiveness of selective oil agglomeration, such as solids concentration, amount of agglomeration oil and agglomeration time, on the recovery of agglomerate and the ash and the pyritic sulphur content of the agglomerates were investigated. In order to delineate the relation between the formation rate of coal–oil agglomerates and the removal of ash and pyritic sulphur, the rates of agglomeration for Balkaya and Aşkale lignites were also calculated by using experimental data. It was found that the success of the process in terms of both recovery and selectivity for lignites was highly dependent on the parameters and control of the agglomeration rate.
Article
Oil agglomeration is a surface property based on the differences in the surface properties of the organic and inorganic constituents of coal. A bituminous coal was agglomerated using kerosene, diesel oil, Kirkuk Crude Petroleum, extract fractions (obtained from Soxhlet extraction)—kerosene or toluene mixtures and toluene. The amounts of bridging oils were varied from 5% to 30% of the initial coal loading. Centrifugal float–sink separations of the coal in dense media were conducted and the results of their grade recovery performances were compared with those of the agglomeration of the particles. Factors affecting the agglomeration performance, such as the amount of bridging oils and washing water, type of bridging oil, solid content of the slurry and finer particles, were determined. The relationship between the agglomerate sizes and their ash content was also determined. Higher recovery values (>95%) were obtained from the agglomeration tests. Extract-oil fraction of the coal extract at various ratios in kerosene decreased the agglomeration recovery from 98.99% to 88.44%. A sharp decrease (from 90.52% to 56.01%) in the recovery was observed for asphaltane fraction of the coal extract in toluene. Increase in finer particle portion in the bulk solids decreased the grade values of the final product.
Article
Using coal–oil agglomeration method for free or native gold recovery has been a research subject for many researchers over the years. In this study, a new approach “coal–oil assisted gold flotation” was used to recover gold particles. The coal–oil–gold agglomeration process considers the preferential wetting of coal and gold particles. The method takes advantage of the greater hydrophobicity and oleophilicity of coal and gold compared to that the most gangue materials. Unlike the previous studies about coal–oil–gold agglomeration, this method uses a very small amount of coal and agglomerating agents. Some experiments were conducted on synthetic gold ore samples to reveal the reaction of the coal–oil assisted gold flotation process against the size and the number of gold particles in the feed. It was observed that there is no significant difference in process gold recoveries for feeds assaying different Au. Although there was a slight decrease for coarse gold particles, the process seems to be effective for the recovery of gold grains as coarse as 300 μm. The decrease in the finest size (<53 μm) is considered to be the decrease in the collision efficiency between the agglomerates and the finest gold particles. The effect of changing coal quantity for constant ore and oil amounts was also investigated. The experiments showed that the process gives very similar results for both artificial and natural ore samples; the best results have been obtained by using 30/1 coal–oil ratio.
Article
This paper is aimed at producing a conceptual model for gold flotation based on the discussion of a number of experimental results where the behaviour of free and refractory gold has been studied under different chemical and physical conditions. A review of the literature suggests that there have been numerous studies on the flotation of free gold particles and refractory sulphides, but these investigations have typically focused on the individual flotation behaviour of each gold bearing species in synthetic mixtures and not when they are present together in “real” ores in the same pulp. The model discussed here shows that the flotation of refractory gold follows a similar trend to the recovery of refractory pyrite and pyrrhotite and is mainly affected by chemical conditions in the pulp such as redox potential, aeration conditions, copper activation, reagent synergism and galvanic interaction. Refractory gold is usually recovered by true flotation that is hydrophobic particle-bubble attachment, unless under certain conditions the physical transport of water and gangue provides a washing effect and detaches some of the sulphide material from the air bubbles. The flotation recovery of free gold is largely affected by physical constraints like the shape and size of the particles, the degree of water and gangue transport to the froth, the stability of the froth, and the extent of bubble loading of sulphide particles which can provide a barrier towards the hydrophobic bubble attachment of free gold. In each individual study the results suggest that the recovery of free gold follows a proportional trend with regard to water and gangue recovery. However, there is an inverse relationship between the true flotation of free and refractory gold due to the fact that free gold particles cannot attach to air bubbles properly in the presence of physical barriers.
Article
In the history of Turkey the first use of cyanide for gold recovery has been at the Ovacik Gold Mine. During one-year test period, this mine has successfully been mining and processing after a complicated and extensive environmental impact procedure. In Turkey about 2500 ton of sodium cyanide are used with about 240 ton of sodium cyanide being used at this mine annually. During the test period, it has been shown that an effluent quality (CNWAD) between 0.06 ppm (min) and 1 ppm (max) was achievable after cyanide destruction with the Inco Process. It was also found that treated effluent values (CNWAD) of process water (decant) were between 0.04 ppm (min) and 0.59 ppm (max). This paper presents a review of the cyanidation and cyanide destruction processes at the Ovacik Gold Mine.
Article
Large quantities of fine coals are generated during mining and preparation stages and a significant portion of these fines is lost as refuse. Oil agglomeration shows promise of being able to minimise fine coal losses and to recover combustible matter from refuse ponds. This paper, based on a detailed literature review, presents: (a) physical-chemical and process engineering principles of oil agglomeration; (b) a comparative summary and specific process highlights of the more developed oil agglomeration processes; and (c) a critical evaluation of oil agglomeration in terms of selection of oil, process benefits and economic aspects.
Article
Gold flotation is often overlooked as a processing option as the precious metal is viewed as being associated with the sulphide particles present in the ore, even when a proportion of the gold is free. Gold does float readily, however, and the free gold can be selectively floated away from an ore containing sulphides. This may be an alternative treatment route for gold room applications where fine gold losses can occur when treating gravity concentrates with pyrite and copper sulphides present. Floating gold from the sulphides could produce a directly smeltable product. Copper sulphides are selectively floated from pyrite ores at high pH's in excess of 11. It is less clear how the free gold behaves under these conditions. In addition, for extra gold recovery, further collectors are added, such as the monothiophosphates, which are known to be selective gold collectors. What form does this additional gold recovery take? These are some of the questions left unanswered from the literature.To answer some of these questions, the effect of collector type, and various operating variables, including pH, grind size and collector additions on gold flotation performance were investigated.At high pH, selectivity of gold against pyrite was possible with a number of collectors. However, there was no selectivity against chalcopyrite in the flotation tests performed. Increasing the pH using lime showed no gold depression. Fine gold was easily floated while some coarse gold reported to the flotation tail.
Article
The captive bubble and sessile drop contact angle techniques have been used to evaluate the hydrophobicity of petrographically identified coal macerals. The magnitude of the contact angle on vitrinite is shown to be a function of coal rank (%C, %O and % vitrinite reflectance), increasing with increasing rank to a maximum for low volatile bituminous rank coals then decreasing for anthracite. The least data scatter is found when vitrinite reflectance is used as a rank parameter. Contact angles measured or estimated for other discrete macerals, indicate a variation in hydrophobicity based on coal type. These data correlate well with known flotation results.
Article
Microbial destruction of cyanide and its related compounds is one of the most important biotechnologies to emerge in the last two decades for treating process and tailings solutions at precious metals mining operations. Hundreds of plant and microbial species (bacteria, fungi and algae) can detoxify cyanide quickly to environmentally acceptable levels and into less harmful by-products. Full-scale bacterial processes have been used effectively for many years in commercial applications in North America. Several species of bacteria can convert cyanide under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions using it as a primary source of nitrogen and carbon. Other organisms are capable of oxidizing the cyanide related compounds of thiocyanate and ammonia under varying conditions of pH, temperature, nutrient levels, oxygen, and metal concentrations. This paper presents an overview of the destruction of cyanide in mining related solutions by microbial processes.
Article
In gold mining, cyanide has been the preferred lixiviant worldwide since 1887. Although cyanide can be destroyed and recovered by several processes, it is still widely discussed and examined due to its potential toxicity and environmental impact. Biological treatment of cyanide is a well-established process and has been commercially used at gold mining operations in North America. Biological treatment processes facilitate growth of microorganisms that are essential for the treatment. The present review describes the advances in the use of biological treatment for the destruction of cyanide in gold mill effluents.
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