April 2016
Volume 68    Issue 4

Evaluation of operational strategies for heap leaching of gold ores under subzero temperatures, Coffee Project, Kaminak Gold

Mining Engineering , 2016, Vol. 68, No. 4, pp. 16-16
Schrauf, Todd; Smith, Mark; Scott, James


Cyanide heap leaching of gold ores in areas with extremely low winter temperatures requires special considerations to prevent freezing of the leach solution. Factors that impact the solution temperature include ore temperature at the time of stacking and during operation, burial of drip irrigation lines, use of geomembrane covers and heating of the leach solution. Thermodynamic modeling was performed to simulate expected ore and solution temperatures under different operating strategies for Kaminak Gold’s Coffee gold project in the Yukon Territory. Mean monthly temperatures at the site ranged from a low of -22.5 °C (-8.5 °F) to a high of 13.6 °C (56.4 °F), while in situ ore temperatures ranged from -0.5° to about -1.5 °C (31 ° to 29 °F). The modeling results were used to optimize the operational parameters and indicated that a combination of drip line burial and heating of the leach solution during the winter months was required to maintain solution temperatures above freezing during the initial years of stacking, although as the size of the heap increased, heating was no longer necessary.  

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