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Case Study – Engineering Design for a Slurry Preparation Plant for a Paste Application in West Africa


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Author M Swanepoel, G du Toit and P L Gillot


Randgold Resources’ Loulo-Gounkoto Complex is one of the largest gold mining operations in Mali, West Africa. The mine, which is situated on the western border with Senegal, treats more than 4 Mt/a of ore through a conventional three-stage crushing and ball milling circuit followed by a carbon-in-leach plant. Ore supply is achieved by a combination of open pit and underground mining, with the majority of the ore supply sourced from the Gara and Yalea underground mines situated approximately 2 km and 6 km respectively from the gold plant.

In 2011, Randgold Resources commissioned Golder Associates to perform an evaluation study for providing structural backfill to both the Gara and Yalea underground mines using the current gold plant tailings. The test work performed as part of the evaluation study concluded the need for a tailings cycloning and dewatering facility capable of producing slurry at a solids concentration of 65 per cent with a particle size distribution that had minimum 25 per cent passing 20 µm and less than 5 per cent of -5 µm material. Tailings desliming was required to ensure a consistent feed quality to the paste preparation plants and to ensure that the system would be capable of handling variation in the feed composition from the gold plant.

WorleyParsons, previously TWP Projects, was contracted by Randgold Resources to complete the engineering design for the slurry preparation plant, whilst Golder Associates was retained to complete the engineering design of the two paste preparation plants.

This paper discusses the test work, design considerations
and engineering design of the slurry preparation plant, termed the ‘intermediate
plant’, as well as all ancillary facilities required for the delivery of the
deslimed slurry to the paste preparation plants located at the two underground


Swanepoel, M, du Toit, G and
Gillot, P L, 2014. Case study – engineering design for a slurry preparation
plant for a paste application in West Africa, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM
Mill Operators’ Conference 2014
, pp 477–486 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).