Geometallurgical Study of a Gravity Recoverable Gold Orebody
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Sheeted vein gold deposits are often characterised by multiple sub-parallel veins and free-milling coarse gold. Inherent mineralisation heterogeneity results in grade and process parameter variability, which increases project risk if not quantified. Measured grade variability is often exacerbated by poorly designed sampling and testwork protocols. Protocols that are optimised within the framework of the Theory of Sampling (TOS) to suit the ore type, together with quality assurance/quality control systems, will reduce variability and provide fit for-purpose results. Geometallurgy can be broadly split into two key approaches: strategic and tactical (or operational). The strategic approach focuses on the whole orebody and long-term life-of-mine view, whereas tactical geometallurgy relates to a more short- to medium term view during mining. The geometallurgical approach requires spatially distributed samples within a deposit to support variability modelling. Diverse attributes from core logging, mineralogical/textural determination and small-scale tests are used to measure variability. This contribution presents a case study that emphasises an early-stage strategic geometallurgical programme applied to a gravity recoverable gold (GRG) dominated deposit. It exemplifies how data can be acquired from a well-designed and planned programme to support resource estimation, a pre-feasibility study, trial mining and fast-track to production. A tactical geometallurgical programme is embedded into the mine operation.
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