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UPGRADING VALUABLE MINERALIZATION AND REJECTING MAGNESIUM SILICATES BY PRE-CONCENTRATION OF MAFIC ORES

2014-01-01
Altun, Naci Emre
Weatherwax, T
Klein, B
Amenability of mafic ores to pre-concentration was investigated with respect to ore mineralization characteristics. For the pre-concentration tests seven ores from various nickel-copper operations at Sudbury, Ontario were subjected to dense medium separation. Size assays of metal values, i.e. distribution of nickel and copper with respect to size fractions, were also determined. The ores were assessed in three categories of valuable mineralization as massive pure sulphides, coarse massive sulphide grains and disseminated sulphides. For ores with massive pure sulphides and coarse massive sulphide grains even a size classification based pre-concentration route could be sought since a clear trend of metal enrichment was identified towards finer fractions. Orebodies of similar mineralogy had similar responses to pre-concentration tests. The best results were for those ore bodies with a distinct differentiation between mineralization and gangue, i.e. the ores with massive pure sulphides, where nickel recoveries of 97% and mass rejections of 38-53% were achieved. Similar results were obtained for ores with coarse massive sulphides. For disseminated sulphide mineralogy relatively lower mass rejection was attained with acceptable recoveries of metals. Rejection of magnesium bearing gangue, such as talc, was identified as another benefit of pre-concentration. The extent of magnesium rejection occurred as a function of ore mineralogy. Clear distinction between valuable mineralization and gangue provided preferential magnesium rejection at high levels with no or minor metal losses.