UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Integrated mining and preconcentration systems for nickel sulfide ores Weatherwax, Trent


As part of a strategic research initiative at UBC to design and evaluate integrated underground mining and mineral processing systems, work has been done to determine how to utilize the coarse rejects of pre-concentration in the underground environment. An amenability study for nine orebodies from four of Xstrata Nickel’s Ontario operations evaluated both processing and waste disposal methods. Metallurgically the orebodies showed amenability to dense media separation and conductivity sorting. The dense media results showed high mass rejections and high metal recoveries for all nine orebodies. Conductivity sorter results were not as consistent, but still showed good results. Dense media rejects were examined to determine the applicability of their use in rockfills and composite minefills. The geotechnical properties indicated that the rejects would provide a competent material for minefills. The mix designs were examined for both strength and rheological properties and showed that fills utilizing rejects were comparable to fills currently used by industry. Composite fills containing rejects had significantly lower void ratios, decreasing cement requirements for a given strength requirement. Conceptual designs for pre-concentration systems based on the metallurgical, reject characterization, and mix design were developed for each of the four mines in the study. The designs took into consideration the current mining plans.

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