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Improving fine sulfide mineral recovery in Independence Group’s Jaguar Mine zinc circuit

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Author R Smiles and B Lumsden
ID P201803036

Description

Independence Group’s Jaguar Mine treats a polymetallic ore producing a copper concentrate and zinc concentrate. Effective separation of the sulfides requires relatively fine grinding with flotation feed P80 of about 75µm. Zn losses to final tails are greater than 60 per cent and <32 µm. When magnetic conditioning was first installed in 2010 it showed about an 8 per cent reduction of zinc in final tail and on some ores a similar benefit for silver as well. Current testwork is showing about a 12 per cent reduction in zinc and silver in final tail, consistent with the original testwork. Sizing of the final tail during the tests showed that the reduction of zinc and silver losses were only in the <32 µm fraction, as would be expected from an aggregation process. However, the most surprising result was about a 4 per cent reduction in zinc and silver in the plant feed with a >99 per cent statistical certainty. The reduction in zinc and silver in the feed is also only in the <32 µm fraction. Therefore, because the magnetic conditioning of Zn flotation feed cannot impact plant ore feed grade the hypothesis is that the magnetic conditioning is reducing the fine mineral from downstream processes, like filtering and thickening, returning to the plant feed in the recycled process water. This hypothesis is consistent with plant observation of dirty concentrate thickener overflow and measurements of solids in the overflow, as well as the average % Zn grade in cyclone overflow that correlates with the magnetic conditioning ON and OFF days. This paper presents these plant test results. CITATION: Smiles, R and Lumsden, B, 2018. Improving fine sulfide mineral recovery in Independence Group’s Jaguar Mine zinc circuit, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 433–440 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).