Process Mineralogy Today

A discussion resource for process mineralogy using todays technologies


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Category: Gold


Direct Measurement of Submicroscopic Gold: Methods and Applications

The ability to recover gold effectively is largely dependent on the nature/carriers of gold and the mineral processing techniques utilized. Gold ores are often classified into two major ore types: free-milling and refractory. Note that many gold deposits contain proportions of both ore types. Free-milling ores refers to those where the majority of gold is liberated through crushing/milling and recoverable by cyanide leaching. Refractory ores are defined as those which yield low gold recoveries, requiring complex and costly chemical pre-treatment prior to cyanidation. Refractoriness is directly controlled by ore mineralogy, generally resulting from the presence of either naturally occurring ‘preg-robbing’ carbonaceous minerals or submicroscopic gold.


Figure courtesy of David Holder: SIMS element distribution maps of a colloform pyrite grain showing Au and As in solid solution. Note the pyrite has been stained using KMnO, which can indicate compositional variations within and between pyrite morphologies.

Figure courtesy of David Holder: SIMS element distribution maps of a colloform pyrite grain showing Au and As in solid solution. Note the pyrite has been stained using KMnO, which can indicate compositional variations within and between pyrite morphologies.



MinAssist in the Media – Midas Mission

IM May 2013 Midas MissionThe recent crash in the gold price has placed operators and explorers in a difficult position, needing to increase discoveries and production but without the market support necessary to fund the required work.  The pressure on operators generated by the declining gold price has led a number of higher cost operations to shut down and even lower cost operations requiring significant cost savings to maintain returns.


In the May issue of International Mining, John Chadwick has written an article, the Midas Mission, looking at ideas and technologies to get the most out of the worlds gold deposits in difficult times.  The article explores a number of areas where operations can increase efficiency of gold extraction or achieve cost reductions.  The article examines advances in processing technologies from continuous gravity separation to leaching and refractory gold treatment by providers such as Gekko Systems, Sepro Mineral Systems, Xstrata and FLDSmidth.



Process mineralogy at the Hillside Cu-Au Project

Overhead view of Hillside Project

Overhead view of Hillside Project

At the March Technical Session held by the AusIMM Melbourne Branch I was fortunate to hear about developments in Rex Minerals’ (ASX:RXM) Hillside Cu-Au Project from their Chief Geologist, Patrick Say.


The Hillside Cu-Au Project, located within striking distance of Adelaide in South Australia was discovered in 2008-2009 and since then a Resource of 330Mt @ 0.8% Cu(eq) has been defined and 120Mt @0.77% Cu(eq) converted into Reserves.  Rex Minerals completed a pre-feasibility study in October 2012 and are progressing with development of a 15Mtpa processing facility to produce a proposed 70,000 tonnes of Cu and 50,000oz of gold, along with a sweetener of 1.2Mtpa of magnetite.  This will all be done for a C1 cash operating cost of US$1.2/lb Cu (Eq), which is very impressive.



MinAssist in the Media: Ask the Expert – Value from Mineralogy

Liberated GoldCheck out the latest issue of the Mining Magazine for an article by MinAssist’s, Dr Will Goodall.  In  this Ask the Expert column Dr Goodall explores how we can use mineralogy to add significant value to process improvement program’s.


The article focuses on a typical gold operation and the manner in which using a smart mineralogy program early in the process improvement process can add real benefits.  This highlights how making the investment in mineralogy at an early stage, rather than as a late stage troubleshooting tool, can help increase recovery and reduce costs.


If you would like to read a copy of the article it can be found in the MinAssist in the Media section of the MinAssist website.  If you have any questions about the content of the article or how MinAssist can assist in setting up this type of program don’t hesitate to contact us

at anytime.

Australian Gold Processing – Trans IMM C special issue

A special issue of Trans IMM C: Minerals Processing and Extractive Metallurgy was published in December focussing on recent advances in the Australian gold industry.


MinAssist was delighted to have our paper, “The use of QEMSCAN in practical gold deportment studies“, included in this special issue.  We encourage anyone interested in the Australian gold industry to have a look at the content of the special issue and see the excellent work that is being done to advance gold processing and our understanding of gold deposits in Australia.  A full list of the papers included can be found through Ingenta Connect or for AusIMM members it can be found through the AusIMM portal.


If anyone has any questions relating to our paper or general questions about how MinAssist can help you with your gold project feel free to contact us anytime.

Practical gold deportment studies

The steady increase in gold price over the last year or two has led to a renewed interest in the yellow metal and I thought it might be time to write a little about one of MinAssist’s favorite topics.  I have spent many years now looking at all aspects of gold deportment programs and I wanted to share some brief concepts I find useful when implementing these types of programs.