Summary of Recent Trends in Canadian Mineral Processing

CIM Bulletin, 1973

E. G. JOE. Secretary, Canadian Mineral Processors, and member, Mineral Processing Division, Mines Branch, EMR. Ottawa

This paper summarizes the main conclusions derived from twenty-two technical presentations made at the 1973 meeting of the Canadian Mineral Processors. Results of two surveys with response from over seventy mines were reported on Canadian milling practice for water re-use and on elimination of cyanide from mill effluents. Water and solution recycle in Canadian mills were detailed for copper, cop,per-zinc, lead-zinc-copper, nickel-copper, iron and gold mines. Cyanide elimination from mill effluents was reported under current practice and under requirements for further treatment by various other processes. Three recent process equipment entries into Canadian mills have been the on-stream particle analyzer, the new gravity concentration tables for recovery of fine tin and other heavy minerals, and solution-jet slurry equipment for reclaiming ground ore from storage. The principles of operation of this equipment were described along with the practical limitations that were found in their application to mineral processing. Capital costs and milling cost reductions were shown in some operations. Computer control of flotation mill processing was a major item on the program. Four major mining companies outlined their mill process control strategy, computer programs and on-stream analysis equipment. Some capital costs and personnel changes were presented, together with gains in concentrate grade and mill recovery. Recent development work has shown the effect of the type of grinding and of aeration on the recovery of sulphide minerals in flotation. One mining company reported a significant depressing effect on copper sulphide flotation while floating ore ground with mild-steel balls; also, pyrite appeared to be activated in the subsequent zinc flotation step. One company with extensive experience in the application of aeration to copper sulphide flotation showed significant improvement to copper recovery by pre-aeration. Both the effects of grinding and aeration were subject to the constraints of the chemical condition of the ore pulp. The metallurgy of silver recovery by combination grinding - gravity treatment and of gold recovery from a complex gold-sulphide ore were reviewed in two papers on precious metals. The latter paper further described the recovery of gold from the Cottrell collectors and the final disposal of arsenic from the dust collectors.
Keywords: Canadian, copper, cyanide, cyanide, Falconbridge Copper Ltd, Metallurgy, mineral processing, zinc, flotation, Mill, Mills, Water