Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 108 num. 5 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Outotec direct leaching application in China</b>]]> Outotec's direct leaching process is an atmospheric leaching process for sulphidic zinc concentrates. The direct leaching process, based on special leaching reactors developed by Outokumpu, is the most economical way to produce electrolytic zinc. The production scale applications of the process realized so far are in use at Boliden's Kokkola and Odda zinc plants. A new full-scale application of Outotec's direct leaching process will be started in 2008 in China. The process is integrated into the existing production plant, replacing part of the old production facilities by modern technology. Besides high zinc extraction the plant expansion and modernization offers also indium recovery, iron precipitation and solution purification processes. The process equipment includes tailor-made reactors designed on the basis of the work and experience of Outotec research centre. <![CDATA[<b>Development of a viable process for the recovery of zinc from oxide ores</b>]]> The Skorpion Zinc Project demonstrated the viability of the production of zinc from non-sulphide (commonly called 'zincoxide') ores, using the leach/solvent extraction/electrowinning process route. The success of Skorpion raised the profile of a number of other zinc oxide deposits, considered to be similar. However, a study of three such deposits demonstrates that the application of whole-ore-leaching may be limited and that the concentration of zinc, or at least the separation from acidconsuming gangue minerals, prior to leaching is essential to the successful recovery of zinc from these deposits. The recovery of zinc is dependent on an understanding of the geology of the deposit, the mineralogical association of zinc minerals with gangue minerals (Boni, 2005) and limitations of mining practice. Flowsheet development and the associated metallurgical test work to derive an economically viable treatment route from two of these deposits are discussed. Key parameters affecting zinc recovery by gravity separation and flotation are presented, demonstrating that even minor differences in mineralogy have a profound impact on zinc recovery and reagent consumption. The study also deals with the determination of appropriate design parameters through metallurgical mapping of the dense media separation process. <![CDATA[<b>The development and implementation of industrial hydrometallurgical gallium and germanium recovery</b>]]> The Gordonsville Operation of Pasminco US Inc. along with the Center for Advanced Mineral and Metallurgical Processing (CAMP) at Montana Tech studied, developed and implemented a pilot-scale hydrometallurgical facility for the industrial recovery of germanium and gallium. This paper describes the joint testing and engineering programme that culminated in this successful process. <![CDATA[<b>Local process investigations on composite electrodes: On the way to understanding design criteria for spray coated anodes in Zn electrowinning</b>]]> Several possible physico-chemical properties of composite electrodes for oxygen evolution are presented to describe experimental data for which a mathematical model had been developed. On this basis, local electrical and electrochemical properties of a composite electrode were investigated with conductive atomic force microscopy (CAFM) and scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). It could be shown by CAFM measurement that the boundary between matrix and catalyst particles seemed to have special advantageous electrical properties. The SECM measurements showed the presence of mass transport phenomena with increased surface concentrations, whilst the thickness of the Nernst diffusion layer was very small. An intermediate was detected and assigned to be hydrogen peroxide. From all species involved in the oxygen evolution reaction (H2O2, H+ and O2), it was concluded that local active spots exist on the electrode on which hydrogen peroxide reacts to oxygen and protons. A two-step two-material process was suggested to explain the whole oxygen evolution mechanism. <![CDATA[<b>Geostatistical modelling of rock type domains with spatially varying proportions: Application to a porphyry copper deposit</b>]]> Plurigaussian simulation allows constructing lithofacies or rock type models that reproduce the contacts between facies in accordance with the geologist's interpretation. Its implementation requires inferring the local facies proportions, but the uncertainty in the true proportions is not accounted for. The simpler model with constant facies proportions may not yield realistic results, due to the possibility of obtaining facies at locations where it is geologically unlikely to find them. This article presents a variation of the plurigaussian model, in which the facies proportions are represented by random fields. The realizations can be made conditional to soft geological information to account for local changes in the facies proportions. The model is illustrated via a case study of a porphyry copper deposit where four Gaussian random fields are simulated conditionally to drill hole data and to constraints on the probability of finding a given facies at specific locations (control points) in the deposit. Then the first two fields are truncated using the random thresholds defined by the last two, generating a three-facies model. The proposed random proportion model proves to be simple to use and to account for spatial variations of the geological characteristics and for the uncertainty in the facies proportions. <![CDATA[<b>Control of the grain size distribution of the raw material mixture in the production of iron sinter</b>]]> The aim of this study was to examine the effect of grain size distribution control of the raw material mixture on the permeability of the green sinter bed and the properties of the produced sinter. This was achieved by evaluating the granulation characteristics of the sinter mixture (moisture content, ranulation time and mean granule diameter) in terms of its green bed permeability, and evaluating the productivity of the sinter bed, the coke rate, tumble index (TI), abrasion index (AI), reduction disintegration index (RDI) and reducibility (RI) of the produced sinter. The raw sinter mixtures contained combinations of Thabazimbi iron ore, Sishen iron ore, coke, lime and return fines. The grain size distributions were controlled by removing the -0.5 mm size fractions of the return fines and coke, and the -1 mm size fraction of lime. Of the examined mixtures, a mixture of 20 mass% Thabazimbi iron ore, 80 mass% Sishen iron ore and fluxes where the coke, lime and return fines were all sized had the highest granulation effectiveness and permeability. The sintering properties of the mixtures in which the grain size distributions were controlled, were very similar for all the mixtures, but superior to the base case mixture in which the grain size distribution was not controlled.