Mineral Processing

Services and Field of Expertise for Operations

As operations grow and change through the life cycle of an ore body, knowing the composition of upcoming feed material is vital to optimizing performance. PMC offers integrated services to monitor existing operations on a routine basis, conduct troubleshooting or performance improvement projects, as well as Ore Body Knowledge benchmarking surveys to predict grind size, liberation and theoretical grade and recoveries.

For Concentrators

Many different factors can impact concentrator performance and understanding the relationships that link geology, mineralogy, and processing are critical to maximizing plant performance. Investigating mineralogical characteristics of the feed and various process streams are an important factor in achieving operational efficiency.  

 

Characterization using TIMA looks at mineral type and abundance, mineral associations, liberation and surface area exposure, elemental deportment and grain size analysis.  This information allows us to examine different unit operations and identify areas for improvement.

 

Targets for study:

  • Identifying target primary and secondary grinds to achieve economic recovery.

  • Investigation into metal losses - liberation, textural, secondary minerals

  • Measure concentrate dilution by gangue  

  • Analysis of smelter penalty elements

liberated fractured bornite.JPG

For Heap Leaching

PMC has developed techniques that allows for mineralogical assessment of heap leach ores even at coarse particles sizes up to 9.5 mm (3/8") on our TIMA Scanning Electron Microscope.  With the assessment PMC can quantify the ore minerals and their associations with leachable and non-leachable gangue providing a complete picture of the mineral relationship in the coarsely crushed rock. 

 

The ability for leaching is dependent on the porosity and permeability so PMC also offers Dye Penetration studies.  Dye penetration studies utilize standard leach solutions doped with a fluorescent dye during column leaching tests, timed interval photographs under ultraviolet light determine the degree of fluid ingress into coarse fragments. Quantification of the ingress of solution is compared to a database of other rock types from heap leach operations

Compared to Diagnostic or Sequential Leaching - Mineralogy has less cost, requires less sample, while providing more detailed information.

coarse mineralogy

Monthly Mineralogy Profile

Services provided to operations for weekly/monthly mineralogical analysis of various process streams such as Plant Feed, Intermediate Products, Final Concentrate and Final Tail. Performance trends are best explained with on-going mineralogical analysis of the various circuit streams and their value to ongoing operations. 

Ore Body Knowledge Benchmarking and Metallurgical Prediction

Orebody knowledge involves a Geometallurgical understanding of the orebody characteristics relevant to geological, mining, ore processing, marketing and environmental issues, of the various ore zones, which is dictated by the mineralogical relationships. 

Determination of ore behaviour via automated TIMA Mineralogical Analysis allows for benchmarking of ore types and zones within deposits in terms of mineral speciation and liberation degree - and distribution - variability, as well as deleterious element deportment and their location at appropriate scales. This Geometallurgical approach has been applied at many large scale- and newly developed mine sites and allows for both circuit development and optimization to enhance the ore-body knowledge over the mine life.

Combining Ore Body Knowledge with bench-scale metallurgical testing allows for the development of predictive recovery models based on mineralogical parameters.