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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.109 n.11 Johannesburg Nov. 2009




Soluble metal recovery improvement using high density thickeners in a CCD circuit: Ruashi II case study



M.C. MulliganI; L. BradfordII

IFLSmidth Minerals(Pty) Ltd, South Africa
IIMetorex Ltd, South Africa




Counter current decantation (CCD) thickener circuits are used to recover soluble metal as pregnant liquor solution from ore leach residue. The basis of CCD operation is to concentrate suspended solids thereby minimizing liquor content in underflow slurry that flow in one direction. Then the underflow slurry liquor is diluted with wash liquor that flows in the opposite direction and the suspended solids are concentrated again and again.
The amount of liquor in the thickener underflow contributes to determining the number of CCD stages required to recover the desired amount of soluble metal. Furthermore, similar results could be achieved at a lower wash quantity, reducing the size of downstream equipment. High density thickeners (HDT) are designed to use gravity and compression, and minimize the amount of liquor in the underflow thus minimizing the number of CCD stages. This paper reviews the process used to select HDTs rather than high rate thickeners (HRT) for the Ruashi II copper-cobalt hydrometallurgical process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), using laboratory HDT simulations, to CCD simulations and thickener design details.



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