Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
ROBERTSON, S.W.; VAN STADEN, P.J. and SEYEDBAGHERI, A.. Advances in high-temperature heap leaching of refractory copper sulphide ores. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.12, pp.1045-1050. ISSN 2411-9717.
Acid heap leaching has been extensively applied to the processing of copper oxide ores, with recovery of copper by solvent extraction and electrowinning. Heap leaching has also been extended to the treatment of secondary sulphide copper ores, where oxidative conditions are generated in aerated heaps by the bacterially-assisted oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron. The treatment of low-grade chalcopyrite ores has recently been the focus of research, with Mintek playing a prominent role. When processing chalcopyrite ores, more complex column test work is performed, which incorporates the prediction and simulation of temperature behaviour in pyrite-containing heaps. Mintek has devised a trade-marked column leaching apparatus (SmartCohimnTM) for the simulation of the natural temperature profile development in pyrite-containing heaps. As heap leach applications are becoming more complex, the parameters that need to be built into the design and operation of heap leach plants are growing in number, and the amount of data to be collected and processed, and the number of decisions to be taken daily, are also increasing. Mintek has therefore developed the HeapStar® administrative advisory software, as a guidance system to ensure that the correct protocols are implemented at various stages of the leach cycle.
Keywords : heap bioleaching; chalcopyrite; simulation; process design; operation..