Development of experimental procedures to analyze copper agglomerate stability

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The efficiency of heap leaching is reduced by poor solution flow characteristics (i.e., channeling and ponding) that result from fines migration. Agglomeration of the ore can immobilize fines, but for agglomeration to be successful in copper leaching, an acid-resistant binder is needed to stabilize the agglomerates. Until now, there has not been a satisfactory method to evaluate whether a binder was effective, other than squeezing a handful to see if it "feels right." This paper reports on several procedures that have been developed to quantitatively determine whether a binder gives good performance in an acidic solution. These procedures have been used to identify binders that would be suitable for copper heap leaching. Copyright 2008, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing