An integrated mining and extraction system for use on Witwatersrand mines

05 Sep 2018

An account is given of the development of a process to concentrate gold and other valuable minerals and to produce a discardable waste. In this process, the ore is coarsely milled, a bulk flotation concentrate is prepared, and the flotation tailing is scavenged in a hydrocyclone, which returns coarse gangue, moderately coarse valuable minerals, and locked valuable minerals back to the mill. The engineering developments required by this circuit in order that it will fit underground, and the progress made towards the achievement of those requirements, are reviewed. If the waste is to be suitable for use as a backfill in a deep-level, flat tabular excavation, it should be capable of being placed hydraulically, and should have both Iow voidage and high rates of drainage. Such a material could be prepared by the fine screening of the overflow from the cyclone in the proposed circuit. Possible methods for the handling of the concentrate and the recovery of its valuable constituents are described. The paper concludes with a discussion of the possible benefits from the use, in deep-level Witwatersrand mines, of a system involving concentration underground, extensive backfilling using the tailings from the concentration process, and hydraulic hoisting of the concentrate.