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Advances In Gold Ore Processing
The gold processing industry is experiencing change. As free-milling and oxide ores become depleted, more complex polymetallic and refractory ores are being processed, coupled with increasing pressure for stricter environmental compliance. Recent years have also seen a steady reduction in mineral processing and metallurgy graduates and a gradual loss of older operating experience. A contribution to documenting current and future best practice in gold ore processing seems timely.
The focus of this volume is on advances in current gold plant operation, from conception to closure; chapters also cover innovations at the bench and pilot-scale level that would be expected to find commercial application at some stage. Sufficient coverage is also given to the chemistry and engineering aspects. The general principle behind the structure of the volume is that of flowsheeting based on unit operations and applied to a mineralogical classification of gold ore types. From concept to closure, this book covers all unit operations, mineralogies and processes that are relevant to dealing with today's complex orebodies.
Practical experience is vital to the successful development, operation and closure of any operation. The 42 chapters have been contributed by a total of 66 authors and co-authors who are experts from countries spanning the globe, and representing exhaustive practical knowledge covering many disciplines relevant to gold processing.
Mineral processing engineers, metallurgists, process mineralogists, mining engineers, environmental engineers & consultants, resource company managers
Historical Introduction (F. Habashi).
Part I. Project Development. Feasibility Study Management.
Sampling (R. Holmes). Mineralogical investigation (S. Chryssoulis). Process flowsheet selection (D. Lunt, T. Weeks). Metallurgical testwork (J. Angove). Process simulation and modelling (H. Smith). Feasibility study plant design (A. Ryan, E. Johanson, D. Rogers).
Commissioning (G. Lane, P. Messenger).
Safety, Process Control and Environmental Management.
International cyanide management code (T. Gibbons). Process control (D. Hulbert).
Closure and Rehabilitation.
Processing plant (H. Lacy, J. Hayes, J. Muller, C. Dodd, J. Wills, D. Koontz). Tailings storage facilities (H. Lacy).
Part II. Unit Operations. Comminution.
Comminution circuits (J. Mosher).
Gravity gold technology (A. Laplante, S. Gray). Flotation (R. Dunne).
Oxidation of sulphide concentrates.
Pressure oxidation (K. Thomas). Bacterial oxidation (P. Miller, A. Brown). Roasting developments (esp. oxygenated) (K. Thomas, A. Cole). Roasting (Circulating Fluid Bed) (J. Hammerschmidt, J. Guntner, B. Kerstiens).
Heap leaching (D. Kappes, K. Cassidy). Cyanidation (G. Deschenes). Alternative lixiviants (M. Aylmore). Thiosulfate leaching (D. Muir, M. Aylmore).
Carbon-in-pulp (B. Staunton). Zinc cementation (R. Walton). Resin-in-pulp & resin-in-solution (M. Kotze, B. Green, M. Mackenzie, M. Virnig). Electrowinning (M. Costello). Refining (P. Mostert, P. Radcliffe).
Disposal of residues and effluents.
Cyanide treatment (M. Botz, T. Mudder, A. Aksil). Cyanide recovery (C. Fleming). Tailings storage facilities (D. Williams, H. Jones). Retreatment of gold residues (A. Muir, J. Mitchell, S. Flatman, C. Sabbagha).
Part III. Case Study Flowsheets. Polymetallic Ores.
Gold-copper (B. Sceresini). Copper-gold (D. Dreisinger). High-silver gold ores (M. Millard). Recovery of gold as by-product from the base metals industries (J. Ferron). Extraction of gold from platinum-group metal ores (G. Kyriakakis).
Refractory sulphide ores (D. Lunt, N. Briggs). Preg-robbing gold ores (J. Miller, R-Y. Wan, X. Diaz). Treatment of gold telluride ores (S. Ellis). Treatment of antimonial gold ores (M. Millard). Summary of gold plants and processes (M. Adams).
It is clear that the book covers nearly all aspects of gold in full details, illustrated by clear diagrams, excellent figures, and extensive documentation. Just one topic seems to be missing, namely the treatment of the precipitate obtained by zinc cementation, which is a practical problem facing a number of plant operators. Also, another topic could have been included is the chemical analysis of gold ores (fire assaying). For example, a reference to the impressive Integrated Robotic Assay Labs in Carlin, Nevada constructed by Newmont Company in 1991, which is a major advance in gold analysis, could have very well added value to the book.
Unfortunately, the meaningless term "preg-robbing" and another new term "preg-borrowing" are becoming well established in gold terminology. The first term is widely used throughout the book and even as a chapter heading while the second is found on pp. 42-43. I was wondering what the abstractors in Chemical Abstracts would do when they see such terms. A more scientific term such as "adsorption losses" would have been more appropriate. There is another problem that is regretfully perpetuated in the book: the cyanidation equation (1) shown on page 480 known as Elsner’s equation. It has been well established that this equation does not represent the actual process. It is the Bodländer equation (formation of hydrogen peroxide) that describes the process more accurately. Another minor comment is the great number of acronyms throughout the book that the editor had to include a list of them in 4 pages at the beginning. Finally, it is a pity that the Periodic Table at the back cover is not in color.
An excellent initiative is the inclusion of a short biographical note of the authors and their portraits. This brings the metallurgical community together and is an important source of information for historians in the future. It is hoped that this will be followed by other editors.
The authors are well known experts from industry and universities representing an exhaustive source of practical knowledge covering many disciplines relevant to gold processing. The book should be of great use to mineral processing engineers, metallurgists, process mineralogists, mining engineers, environmental engineers, consultants, plant managers, and students. It is certain that it will be the source book for those working in the field for decades to come. The editor is a consulting metallurgist and Director of Mutis Liber Pty Ltd., in Guildford, Western Australia. Thanks Mike, you did a very good job. I consider this is the Book of the Year!
Fathi Habashi. Laval University, Quebec City, Canada. Fathi.Habashi@gmn.ulaval.ca
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