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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

versão On-line ISSN 2411-9717
versão impressa ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.109 no.6 Johannesburg Jun. 2009




Increasing the capacity of existing and new exothermic autoclave circuits



G.M. Dunn

Hydromet (Pty) Ltd, South Africa,,




Pressure leach autoclave circuits are employed in the leaching of ores, concentrates, mattes, alloys and intermediates for the recovery of metals into solution. Once the metals are extracted into solution, the value metals can be recovered by hydrometallurgical means such as by purification followed by electrowinning, hydrogen reduction, pyrohydrolysis, crystallization and other unit operations. In many of these integrated flowsheets the pressure leach step is pivotal to the recovery of the value metals from the host material.
Furthermore, the autoclave circuit invariably is a high capital cost component of the plant and an area that is carefully scrutinized when debottlenecking and capacity increases are being considered. This paper identifies a unique proven way of increasing the capacity of existing or new exothermic pressure oxidative leach autoclave circuits by as much as two or three times.



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