The Telfer concentrator, located in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia, consists of a dual train gold/copper operation processing ore from one underground and, currently, two open pit mines with differing mineralogy. The flotation circuit of each train was designed to operate in several modes depending on the feed mineralogy. The majority of ore mined at Telfer is processed in a sequential mode where copper minerals are first floated into a saleable copper concentrate followed by the flotation of an auriferous pyrite concentrate which is treated in an on-site hydrometallurgical plant (carbon-in-leach (CIL)). Gold is recovered as a gravity product within the primary grinding circuit, to the copper concentrate, and to a lesser extent, the CIL circuit.
Since Telfer was re-opened, with a new concentrator, in 2004, the processing plant has struggled with poor copper concentrate grades, partially due to the excessive entrainment of non-sulfide gangue minerals in the copper flotation circuit and, more recently, due to composite copper particles produced when processing ore from a supplementary satellite pit that has not previously been processed through the new Telfer concentrator. Gold recoveries in the CIL circuit have also been below industry standard.
This paper presents the implementation of recent changes made to the circuit to address these performance issues. The reconfiguration of the circuit has involved the installation of the following major equipment items: two ISAMills™ in ultra-fine grinding applications (one in the copper circuit and one in the pyrite circuit), two Jameson Cells to improve fine gangue rejection and a bank of 5 × Outotec TC30s to recovery copper and gold from the reground pyrite stream. The equipment was purchased direct from vendors and an engineering firm contracted to design and install the multi-vendor reconfiguration upgrade.
Seaman, D R, Burns, F, Adamson, B, Seaman, B A and
Manton, P, 2012. Telfer processing plant upgrade – The implementation of
additional cleaning capacity and the regrinding of copper and pyrite
concentrates, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference, pp 373-382 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).