Barrick Gold Senior Design Project: Treatment and Removal of Excess Lixivants from the Tailings Water of Two Parallel Gold Leaching Circuits
Chemical & Materials Engineering
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The following project was completed by a Senior Design team of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. The problem statement was given to the team by a representative at Barrick’s Goldstrike mine, located outside of Carlin, Nevada. The statement describes the mine’s present operation of two gold leaching circuits, with one circuit being a newly constructed process running separately from the existing cyanide leach operation. The statement then communicates a desire to combine the waste streams (tailings) of each circuit into a single holding dam prior to recycling, effectively increasing the throughput of ore in the new circuit significantly. The newly constructed Resin in Leach (RIL) circuit uses Thiosulfate, which is an alternative lixivant that has proven to be more effective in extracting gold from double-refractory ore. However, it is difficult to prevent the competing reagent from negatively affecting gold recovery in the opposite leach circuit. In order to combine the wastewater tailings from the two processes into a single holding dam, these streams must be treated before they are mixed to forestall any deleterious effects caused by the cross contamination of the two lixivants in each circuit. The senior design team investigated and evaluated several designs of unit operations for reagent reclamation; various viable options are presented.