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Home News 6 steps of gold heap leaching process

6 steps of gold heap leaching process

129 25.Aug.2022 KZ Editor

In the gold ore beneficiation technology, it is currently considered the most economical gold extraction process, and has obvious advantages in low-grade and ultra-low-grade gold ore projects. The heap leaching process is widely used due to its simple process, low energy consumption, less equipment configuration, low capital investment and production cost, and is suitable for the treatment of low-grade oxide ores, by-product ores or off-surface ores extracted in the process of well development. gold mine.

In production, the common process mainly includes six stages: ore preparation, leaching pad construction, pile building, solution leaching solution preparation, solution distribution and collection, and rich solution (precious solution) processing.

Stage 1: Ore Preparation

The preparation stage of ore mainly includes crushing, granulation and pretreatment. The purpose is to improve the leachability of the ore and the permeability of the leach heap, avoid uneven liquid flow, blockage, channeling and other phenomena, improve the recovery rate of gold ore and reduce the leaching rate. fluid consumption.


According to the nature and process requirements of gold ore, different crushing processes are implemented. The heap leaching of waste ore is generally not broken (30%), the ore particle size after the second-stage crushing is 30-50mm (53%), and the ore particle size after the third-stage crushing is 9-19mm (17%). Practice has proved that crushing is one of the key technical links to ensure good permeability of ore and improve the leaching rate of gold ore.


For powder ore and ore with high clay content, granulation operation is required first. Add a certain amount (3-6kg/t) of cement and lime adhesives to the ore, and add an appropriate amount of sodium cyanide solution to keep the ore at 8-12% humidity, solidify for 8-12 hours, and form agglomerates. Through the granulation treatment, the permeability of the ore heap is improved, the oxygen supply is sufficient, and the gold is dissolved by cyanidation in advance, which greatly improves the leaching rate of gold.

This process often uses a cylindrical granulator, a disc granulator, and a multi-section belt granulator. Among them, the belt granulator can granulate the fine ore and send it directly to the heap leaching field, and the cylindrical granulator is especially suitable for the ore with high clay content.


In the granulation process, it is sometimes necessary to add a solution leaching solution to pretreat the ore, the purpose of which is to improve the permeability of the leach heap and the leaching rate of the useful components of the ore.

Stage Two: Dip Pad Construction

In order to collect the rich liquid and prevent the leakage of the solution, the bottom trimming and bedding (or bottoming) should be carried out on the yard before the stacking. The materials for building the dip pad are mainly clay, sand, gravel, asphalt, reinforced concrete, plastic film or rubber-plastic board. Depending on the material, the thickness of the cushion layer is generally 300-600mm. On the cushion layer, the vertical and horizontal drainage grooves are paved with block ore, and finally a layer of large block ore is laid on the entire bottom plate to protect the bottom cushion.

Dip Pad Construction.jpg

Stage 3: Building the Heap

The purpose of building the pile is to make the ore pile have good and uniform permeability, and to ensure that the slope will not collapse. The height of the ore pile mainly depends on the permeability of the ore pile, the content of the leaching agent in the leaching solution, and the equipment and method of building the pile.


Generally, the heap height is 3-9m, and the raw ore heap leaching heap can be as high as 46m. There are many ways to build piles, such as pile method, multi-layer method, slope method, etc. Most gold heap leaching plants often use vehicles, front-end loaders, and bulldozers to transport and unload ore to build piles, and at the same time loosen them in time to prevent the ore piles from being mechanically compacted.

Stage 4: Solution Preparation

Water and leaching agent are formulated into a solution or leaching solution for leaching useful components from gold ore according to a certain formula. Common leaching agents include sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, ammonium carbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, ferric sulfate, chloride, sodium iodide, potassium iodide, ammonium sulfate, air, oxygen, permanganate, Contains nitrogen oxides, hydrogen peroxide and chlorates, etc. The formula and dosage of the solution leaching solution should be determined according to the ore type, mineral composition and chemical composition. Alkaline sodium cyanide solution is often used as the leaching solution for heap leaching of gold mines.


Stage 5: Distributing and collecting liquid

Liquid distribution is to spray the leaching liquid evenly on the top surface of the ore pile.

Taking spraying as an example, the spraying pipe network is made of high-strength polyethylene plastic pipes, and the spray head adopts a rotating and swinging spray head, with a large spray radius, large and uniform spray droplets, not easy to atomize, and easy to install. In the spraying process, one is to make the solution spray evenly on the ore pile, and the other is to achieve the required spraying intensity, that is, the spraying volume per unit time per unit area, usually 0.1-0.4L /m•min, the spraying time is about 1/3-1/2 of the total time. After spraying, the rich liquid from the bottom of the pile flows into the liquid collecting tank through the liquid ditch, and then is pumped to the workshop for processing.

Stage 6: Rich Liquid Processing

Gold ore is extracted by carbon adsorption and (or precipitation). Activated carbon becomes gold-loaded carbon due to the adsorption of gold in pulp. After the adsorption operation is completed, the pulp containing gold-loaded carbon is sent to the carbon extraction screen through the air lifter to separate the pulp and activated carbon. After screening and washing, the pulp is sent to the desorption electrolysis operation.

Under the condition of high temperature and high pressure, anions that are easily adsorbed by activated carbon are added to the desorption system, and Au(CN)2- is replaced to obtain gold mud and lean carbon, thereby realizing gold desorption. The precious liquid obtained by desorption of gold-loaded carbon is recovered by ionization method to obtain solid gold.


The above are the six common stages of the gold heap leaching process. Sometimes, the heap leaching process can be combined with the carbon slurry method or the zinc displacement method, that is, the high-grade gold ore is sent to the cyanidation plant for processing, and the low-grade ores, off-surface ores or waste rock are processed by the heap leaching method. In the actual production process, different properties of gold ore are suitable for different heap leaching process and parameters, which can only be determined through sufficient beneficiation tests.

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