October 2020
Volume 72    Issue 10

Practical experience in large-scale development of the Zijinshan low-grade gold-copper mine

Chen, Jinghe; Zhong, Shuiping; Tang, Ding; Kuang, Chen

ABSTRACT:

The Zijinshan gold-copper mine, located in Shanghang County, China, is a porphyry-type, low-grade ore deposit with a geological profile of upper gold and lower copper. Despite its low-grade nature, it has become one of the largest in production scale and most profitable nonferrous metal mines in China, which can be attributed to the successful application of hydrometallurgy as well as proper engineering design. A large-scale, open-air cyanide heap leach has been successfully implemented to recover gold under the humid and rainy weather conditions of southern China. Furthermore, according to the gold ore characteristics, a combination of gravity separation, carbon-in-leach and heap leaching processes was developed to improve gold recovery. In terms of copper extraction, copper ore of a grade higher than 0.25 percent is fed to the flotation plants to produce copper concentrate (gold is also enriched here), while copper ore of a grade lower than 0.25 percent undergoes heap bioleaching followed by solvent extraction and electrowinning to produce cathode copper. Additionally, a unique bioleaching system has been established at the Zijinshan Mine: low operating pH (0.8~1.0), high concentration of total soluble iron (~50 g/L), high temperatures (45~60 °C) and low activity of microorganism (~104/mL) in the pregnant leach solution (PLS). This review paper summarizes the practical experience acquired in developing the Zijinshan gold-copper mine and could be of use in other gold and/or copper plants.
 

Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1339–1347, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00237-2

HOW CAN YOU READ THE FULL TEXT OF MME PAPERS?

Follow these easy steps if you are an SME member:
  • Go to www.smenet.org/login . Sign in with your email address and password.
  • Hover your mouse over “Publications and Resourcesâ€� in the top banner. Click on “Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (MME) Journalâ€� in the pull-down menu.
  • Scroll down and click on the “Read the MME Journal Onlineâ€� button, which will take you to the Springer site as an SME member who is eligible for free access. (To see published papers on the Springer site, click on “Browse Volumes & Issuesâ€� in the blue banner.)
If you are not an SME member, go to https://www.springer.com/engineering/journal/42461 for paid access. Or join SME at www.smenet.org/join