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Title:
LOW ENERGY PROCESS FOR METAL EXTRACTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/109173
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Methods and systems for preparing ore for precious metal extraction is provided. For example, a method comprises crushing ore; grinding the crushed ore; screening the ground ore to separate ore particles into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of small ore particles; crushing the first group of large ore particles; screening the crushed ore to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of small ore particles; separating the second group of small ore particles from the screen into a third group of large particles and a third group of small particles; milling the third group of large ore particles; separating milled particles into a fourth group of large particles and a fourth group of small particles; and sending the third and fourth group of small particles for further metal extraction processing.

Inventors:
LIND, Peter (3400-666 Burrard StreetVancouver, British Columbia V6C 2X8, V6C 2X8, CA)
HILLE, Simon (3400-666 Burrard StreetVancouver, British Columbia V6C 2X8, V6C 2X8, CA)
TOMLINSON, Marcus (3400-666 Burrard StreetVancouver, British Columbia V6C 2X8, V6C 2X8, CA)
Application Number:
CA2018/051541
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
December 03, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GOLDCORP INC. (3400-666 Burrard St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 2X8, V6C 2X8, CA)
International Classes:
B02C21/00; B02C23/08; B02C23/14; B04C9/00; B07B1/00
Foreign References:
CA2641626C2015-04-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCMANUS, Kimberly A. et al. (Aird & McBurney LP, Brookfield Place 181 Bay Street, Suite 180, Toronto Ontario M5J 2T9, M5J 2T9, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. grinding the crushed ore;

c. screening the ground ore to separate ore particles into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of small ore particles;

d. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

e. screening the crushed ore to separate into a second group of large ore

particles and a second group of small ore particles;

f. separating the second group of small ore particles from the screen into a third group of large particles and a third group of small particles;

g. milling the third group of large ore particles;

h. separating milled particles into a fourth group of large particles and a fourth group of small particles; and

i. sending the third and fourth group of small particles for further metal extraction processing.

2. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles;

f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

g. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

h. ball milling the third group of large particles; i. separating the ball milled particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

j. sending the first and second groups of small particles for further metal

extraction processing.

3. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles;

f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

g. ball milling the screened particles;

h. separating the ball milled particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

i. ball milling the third group of large particles and further separating the ball milled third group of large particles;

j. separating the first group of small particles into a fourth group of large

particles and a second group of small particles;

k. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

L. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

4. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles; d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles;

f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

g. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

h. ball milling the third group of large particles;

i. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles from the ball mill into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

j. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

k. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

5. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting to

eliminate waste particles;

d. crushing the sorted ore particles;

e. screening the re-crushed sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

f. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate further waste particles;

g. rolls crushing the sorted second group of large ore particles;

h. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

i. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles; j. ball milling the third group of large particles;

k. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

L. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

m. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

6. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles a group of middle ore particles and a first group of fines particles; c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via bulk sorting to eliminate waste particles;

d. sorting the group of middle ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate waste particles

e. crushing the bulk-sorted ore particles;

f. screening the re-crushed bulk-sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; g. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting; h. rolls crushing the sorted group of middle ore particles and the sorted second group of large ore particles;

i. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

j. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

k. ball milling the third group of large particles;

L. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles from the ball mill into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; m. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

n. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

7. A method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via bulk sorting to eliminate waste particles;

d. sorting the group of middle ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate further waste particles

e. crushing the bulk-sorted ore particles;

f. screening the re-crushed bulk-sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; g. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting; h. rolls crushing the sorted group of middle ore products and the second group of large ore particles;

i. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

j. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

k. ball milling the third group of large particles;

L. utilizing coarse flotation on the ball milled particles to recover concentrate and eliminate flotation waste particles;

m. separating the first group of small particles and the recovered concentrate into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

n. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

o. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

8. The method of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the primary crusher is selected from the group of a gyratory crusher, a tooth roll sizer, and a jaw crusher.

9. The method any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the secondary crusher is a pebble crusher.

10. The method of any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the secondary crusher is selected from the group of a cone crusher, a rolls crusher, an impact crusher, a hammer mill, and a toothed sizer.

1 1. The method of any one of claims 5 to 7 further comprising eliminating waste particles at each step of the method.

12. The method of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the primary crusher crushes ore to a size range of about 1000 mm to about 200 mm.

13. The method of claim 1 , wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

14. The method of claim 1 , wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

15. The method of claim 1 , wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the third group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

16. The method of claim 1 , wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the fourth group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

17. The method of any one of claims 2 to 5, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

18. The method of claim 6 or 7, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 300 mm to about 80 mm, a group of middle particles has a size range of about 80 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

19. The method of any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

20. The method of any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

21. The method of any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

22. The method of claim 6 or 7, wherein the sensor-based sorting is done by sensors selected from the group comprising X-ray transmission (XRT) sensors, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensors, and 3D laser sensors.

23. The method of claim 1 wherein steps a) to i) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 18 kWh/t to about 22 kWh/t, and an installed energy in a range of about 43 MW to about 48 MW.

24. The method of claim 2 wherein steps a) to j) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 16.5 kWh/t to about 19 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 38 MW to about 43 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -12% to about -18% when compared to the method of claim 1.

25. The method of claim 3 wherein steps a) to I) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 13.1 kWh/t to about 14.5 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 32 MW to about 36 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -28% to about -33% when compared to the method of claim 1.

26. The method of claim 4 wherein steps a) to k) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 12.5 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 31 MW to about 35 MW, and a specific energy reduction of -30% to about -37% when compared to the method of claim 1.

27. The method of claim 5 wherein steps a) to m) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 9 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 25 MW to about 30 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -40% to about -47% when compared to the method of claim 1.

28. The method of claim 6 wherein steps a) to n) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 8 kWh/t to about 12 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 23 MW to about 28 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -50% to about -55% when compared to the method of claim 1.

29. The method of claim 7 wherein steps a) to o) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 7 kWh/t to about 10 kWh/t , an installed energy in a range of about 20 MW to about 25 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -55% to about -60% when compared to the method of claim 1.

30. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a SAG mill for grinding the crushed ore;

a screen for screening ground ore into a first group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing large particles from the screen, the crushed ore from the secondary crusher passed on to the screen for separating into a second group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

a cyclone for separating the second group of small particles from the screen into a third group of large particles and a third group of small particles; and

a ball mill for milling the third group of particles from the cyclone, the milled particles fed into the cyclone for separating into a fourth group of large particles and a fourth group of small particles,

wherein the third and the fourth group of small particles from the cyclone are sent for further metal extraction processing.

31. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large particles and small particles;

a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the cyclone,

wherein the milled third group of large particles are sent back to the cyclone for further separating and wherein the small particles from the cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

32. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen;

a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles;

a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a ball mill for milling the screened particles from the third screen; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles, the third group of large particles returned to the ball mill for milling and then returned to the first cyclone for further separating; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles from the first cyclone into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returning the milled fourth group of large particles to the second cyclone for further separating,

wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

33. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen;

a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles;

an open-circuit ball mills for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone;

a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

34. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

an ore sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen;

a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter;

a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles;

an open-circuit ball mills for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone;

a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles, and

a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating; wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

35. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles, and a first group of fines particles; a bulk sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles;

an ore sorter for sorting the group of middle ore particles to eliminate waste particles;

a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen;

a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter;

a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles;

a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

36. A system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising:

a primary crusher for crushing ore;

a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles, and a first group of fines particles; a bulk sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles;

an ore sorter for sorting the group of middle ore particles to eliminate waste particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen;

a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter;

a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles;

a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a coarse flotation for recovering concentrate from the ball milled third group of large particles;

a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the concentrate into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

37. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the primary crusher is selected from the group of a gyratory crusher, a tooth roll sizer, and a jaw crusher.

38. The system of claim 30, wherein the secondary crusher is a pebble crusher.

39. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the screen is selected from the group of circle-throw vibrating, high frequency vibrating equipment, gyratory, and trommel screens.

40. The system of claim 33 or 34, wherein the ore sorter comprises sensors.

41. The system of claim 40, wherein the sensors are selected from the group consisting of X-ray transmission (XRT) sensors, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensors, and 3D laser sensors.

42. The system of any one of claims 31 to 36, wherein the ball mill is an open circuit ball mill.

43. The system of claim 36, wherein the ball milled third group of large particles is sent back to the first cyclone for further separating, putting the ball mill in a closed circuit ball mill.

44. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the primary crusher crushes ore to a size range of about 1000 mm to about 200 mm.

45. The system of claim 30, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

46. The system of claim 30, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

47. The system of claim 30, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

48. The system of claim 30, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the third group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

49. The system of claim 30, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the fourth group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

50. The system of any one of claims 30 to 33, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

51. The system of claim 34 or 36, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 300 mm to about 80 mm, the group of middle particles has a size range of about 80 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

52. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

53. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

54. The system of any one of claims 30 to 36, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

55. The system of claim 30, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 18 kWh/t to about 22 kWh/t and an installed energy in a range of about 43 MW to about 48 MW.

56. The system of claim 31 , wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 16.5 kWh/t to about 19 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 38 MW to about 43 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -12% to about - 18% when compared to the system of claim 30.

57. The system of claim 32, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 13.1 kWh/t to about 14.5 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 32 MW to about 36 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -28% to about -33% when compared to the system of claim 30.

58. The system of claim 33, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 12.5 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 31 MW to about 35 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -30% to about - 37% when compared to the system of claim 30.

59. The system of claim 34, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 9 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 25 MW to about 30 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -40% to about -47% when compared to the system of claim 30.

60. The system of claim 35, wherein a specific energy is produced consumption in a range of about 8 kWh/t to about 12 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 23 MW to about 28 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -50% to about -55% when compared to the system of claim 30.

61. The system of claim 36, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 7 kWh/t to about 10 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 20 MW to about 25 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -55% to about -60% when compared to the system of claim 30.

Description:
LOW ENERGY PROCESS FOR METAL EXTRACTION

FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of processing of mineralized ores.

Specifically, the present invention pertains to methods of separation of metals from mineralized ore.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Traditionally, metal milling processes involve crushing and grinding of ore.

Such methods of separation of metals, in particular precious metals, from ore require a large amount of energy expenditure.

[0003] Comminution consumes 1-4% of all electrical power generated in the world and about 50% of minesite energy consumption is due to comminution

(http://www.ceecthefuture.Org/wp-content/uploads/2012/1 1/Napier-Munn-CEEC-3-12.pdf). Comminution has long been touted as an energy intensive and inefficient process. Grinding mills often featured in most comminution circuits, are inefficient and have a random nature of particle size reduction. There remains a limited understanding, however, of how operating comminution circuits compare in terms of energy usage and cost.

[0004] A need, therefore, exists for the development of a more energy efficient process for metal extraction in mineralized ore processing.

SUMMARY

[0005] In accordance with a first aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of: a. crushing ore; b. grinding the crushed ore; c. screening the ground ore to separate ore particles into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of small ore particles; d. crushing the first group of large ore particles; e. screening the crushed ore to separate into a second group of large ore

particles and a second group of small ore particles; f. separating the second group of small ore particles from the screen into a third group of large particles and a third group of small particles; g. milling the third group of large ore particles; h. separating milled particles into a fourth group of large particles and a fourth group of small particles; and i. sending the third and fourth group of small particles for further metal extraction processing.

[0006] In other aspects of the method described herein, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the third group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the fourth group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm.

[0007] In accordance with a second aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles;

f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles;

g. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

h. ball milling the third group of large particles;

i. separating the ball milled particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and

j. sending the first and second groups of small particles for further metal

extraction processing. [0008] In accordance with a third aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles;

f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

g. ball milling the screened particles;

h. separating the ball milled particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

i. ball milling the third group of large particles and further separating the ball milled third group of large particles;

j. separating the first group of small particles into a fourth group of large

particles and a second group of small particles;

k. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

L. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

[0009] In accordance with a fourth aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. crushing the first group of large ore particles;

d. screening the re-crushed first group of ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

e. rolls crushing the second group of large ore particles; f. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

g. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

h. ball milling the third group of large particles;

i. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles from the ball mill into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

j. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

k. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

[0010] In accordance with a fifth aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles;

c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting to

eliminate waste particles;

d. crushing the sorted ore particles;

e. screening the re-crushed sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles;

f. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate further waste particles;

g. rolls crushing the sorted second group of large ore particles;

h. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

i. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

j. ball milling the third group of large particles; k. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

L. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

m. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

[0011] In other aspects of the methods described herein, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

[0012] In accordance with a sixth aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles a group of middle ore particles and a first group of fines particles; c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via bulk sorting to eliminate waste particles;

d. sorting the group of middle ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate waste particles

e. crushing the bulk-sorted ore particles;

f. screening the re-crushed bulk-sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; g. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting; h. rolls crushing the sorted group of middle ore particles and the sorted second group of large ore particles;

i. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

j. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

k. ball milling the third group of large particles; L. separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles from the ball mill into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles;

m. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

n. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

[0013] In a seventh aspect, there is provided a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising steps of:

a. crushing ore;

b. screening crushed ore to separate into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles and a first group of fines particles; c. sorting the first group of large ore particles via bulk sorting to eliminate waste particles;

d. sorting the group of middle ore particles via sensor-based sorting to eliminate further waste particles

e. crushing the bulk-sorted ore particles;

f. screening the re-crushed bulk-sorted ore particles to separate into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; g. sorting the second group of large ore particles via sensor-based sorting; h. rolls crushing the sorted group of middle ore products and the second group of large ore particles;

i. screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles, and the second group of fines particles;

j. separating the screened particles into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles;

k. ball milling the third group of large particles;

L. utilizing coarse flotation on the ball milled particles to recover concentrate and eliminate flotation waste particles;

m. separating the first group of small particles and the recovered concentrate into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; n. stir milling the fourth group of large particles and further separating the stir milled fourth group of large particles; and

o. sending the second group of small particles for further metal extraction

processing.

[0014] In other aspects of the methods described herein, wherein the primary crusher is selected from the group of a gyratory crusher, a tooth roll sizer, and a jaw crusher. In another aspect, wherein the secondary crusher is a pebble crusher. In another aspect, wherein the secondary crusher is selected from the group of a cone crusher, a rolls crusher, an impact crusher, a hammer mill, and a toothed sizer. In another aspect, the method further comprises eliminating waste particles at each step of the method. In another aspect, wherein the primary crusher crushes ore to a size range of about 1000 mm to about 200 mm. In another aspect, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 300 mm to about 80 mm, a group of middle particles has a size range of about 80 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the sensor-based sorting is done by sensors selected from the group comprising X-ray transmission (XRT) sensors, X- ray fluorescence (XRF) sensors, and 3D laser sensors.

[0015] With respect to the method of the first aspect, wherein steps a) to i) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 18 kWh/t to about 22 kWh/t, and an installed energy in a range of about 43 MW to about 48 MW. With respect to the method of the second aspect, wherein steps a) to j) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 16.5 kWh/t to about 19 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 38 MW to about 43 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -12% to about -18% when compared to the method of the first aspect. With respect to the method of the third aspect, wherein steps a) to I) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 13.1 kWh/t to about 14.5 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 32 MW to about 36 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -28% to about -33% when compared to the method of the first aspect. With respect to the method of the fourth aspect, wherein steps a) to k) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 12.5 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 31 MW to about 35 MW, and a specific energy reduction of -30% to about 37% when compared to the method of the first aspect. With respect to the method of the fifth aspect, wherein steps a) to m) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 9 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 25 MW to about 30 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -40% to about 47% when compared to the method of the first aspect. With respect to the method of the sixth aspect, wherein steps a) to n) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 8 kWh/t to about 12 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 23 MW to about 28 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -50% to about 55% when compared to the method of the first aspect. With respect to the method of the seventh aspect, wherein steps a) to o) produce a specific energy consumption in a range of about 7 kWh/t to about 10 kWh/t , an installed energy in a range of about 20 MW to about 25 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -55% to about - 60% when compared to the method of the first aspect.

[0016] In an eighth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a SAG mill for grinding the crushed ore; a screen for screening ground ore into a first group of large particles and a first group of small particles; a secondary crusher for crushing large particles from the screen, the crushed ore from the secondary crusher passed on to the screen for separating into a second group of large particles and a second group of small particles; a cyclone for separating the second group of small particles from the screen into a third group of large particles and a third group of small particles; and a ball mill for milling the third group of particles from the cyclone, the milled particles fed into the cyclone for separating into a fourth group of large particles and a fourth group of small particles, wherein the third and the fourth group of small particles from the cyclone are sent for further metal extraction processing.

[0017] In other aspects of the system described herein, wherein the secondary crusher is a pebble crusher. In another aspect, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the third group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the fourth group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. [0018] In a ninth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large particles and small particles; a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the cyclone, wherein the milled third group of large particles are sent back to the cyclone for further separating and wherein the small particles from the cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

[0019] In a tenth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a ball mill for milling the screened particles from the third screen; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large particles and a first group of small particles, the third group of large particles returned to the ball mill for milling and then returned to the first cyclone for further separating; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles from the first cyclone into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returning the milled fourth group of large particles to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

[0020] In an eleventh aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles; a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles; an open-circuit ball mills for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

[0021] In other aspects of the systems described herein, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 100 mm to about 50 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

[0022] In a twelfth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles and a first group of fines particles; an ore sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed second group of large ore particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles; an open-circuit ball mills for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

[0023] In a thirteenth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles, and a first group of fines particles; a bulk sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles; an ore sorter for sorting the group of middle ore particles to eliminate waste particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles; a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the ball milled third group of large particles into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing.

[0024] In a fourteenth aspect, there is provided a system for preparing ore for precious metal extraction comprising: a primary crusher for crushing ore; a first screen for screening the crushed ore into a first group of large ore particles, a group of middle ore particles, and a first group of fines particles; a bulk sorter for sorting the first group of large ore particles to eliminate waste particles; an ore sorter for sorting the group of middle ore particles to eliminate waste particles; a secondary crusher for crushing the first group of large ore particles from the first screen; a second screen for screening the crushed first group of large ore particles into a second group of large ore particles and a second group of fines particles, the large ore particles sent back to the ore sorter for further sorting; a rolls crusher for crushing the group of middle ore particles and the second group of large ore particles from the ore sorter; a third screen for screening the rolls crushed particles, the first group of fines particles and the second group of fines particles; a first cyclone for separating the screened particles from the third screen into a third group of large and a first group of small particles; a ball mill for milling the third group of large particles from the first cyclone; a coarse flotation for recovering concentrate from the ball milled third group of large particles; a second cyclone for separating the first group of small particles and the concentrate into a fourth group of large particles and a second group of small particles; and a stirred mill for milling the fourth group of large particles from the second cyclone and returned to the second cyclone for further separating, wherein the second group of small particles from the second cyclone are sent on for further metal extraction processing. [0025] In other aspects of the systems described herein, wherein the primary crusher is selected from the group of a gyratory crusher, a tooth roll sizer, and a jaw crusher. In another aspect, wherein the screen is selected from the group of circle-throw vibrating, high frequency vibrating equipment, gyratory, and trommel screens. In another aspect, wherein the ore sorter comprises sensors. In another aspect, wherein the sensors are selected from the group consisting of X-ray transmission (XRT) sensors, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensors, and 3D laser sensors. In another aspect, wherein the ball mill is an open circuit ball mill. In another aspect, wherein the ball milled third group of large particles is sent back to the first cyclone for further separating, putting the ball mill in a closed circuit ball mill. In another aspect, wherein the primary crusher crushes ore to a size range of about 1000 mm to about 200 mm. In another aspect, wherein the second group of large particles has a size range of about 50mm to about 30 mm and the second group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the third group of large particles has a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of small particles has a size range about 15 mm to about 6 mm. In another aspect, wherein the fourth group of large particles has a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and the second group of small particles has a size range of less than about 10 mm. In another aspect, wherein the first group of large particles has a size range of about 300 mm to about 80 mm, the group of middle particles has a size range of about 80 mm to about 20 mm and the first group of fines particles has a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm.

[0026] With respect to the system of the eighth aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 18 kWh/t to about 22 kWh/t and an installed energy in a range of about 43 MW to about 48 MW. With respect to the system of the ninth aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 16.5 kWh/t to about 19 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 38 MW to about 43 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -12% to about -18% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect. With respect to the system of the tenth aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 13.1 kWh/t to about 14.5 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 32 MW to about 36 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -28% to about -33% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect. With respect to the system of the eleventh aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 12.5 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 31 MW to about 35 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -30% to about -37% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect. With respect to the system of the twelfth aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 9 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 25 MW to about 30 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about 40% to about -47% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect. With respect to the system of the thirteenth aspect, wherein a specific energy is produced consumption in a range of about 8 kWh/t to about 12 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 23 MW to about 28 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -50% to about 55% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect. With respect to the system of the fourteenth aspect, wherein a specific energy consumption is produced in a range of about 7 kWh/t to about 10 kWh/t, an installed energy in a range of about 20 MW to about 25 MW, and a specific energy reduction of about -55% to about 60% when compared to the system of the eighth aspect.

[0027] In another aspect, there is provided a system and a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction that includes ore sorting, rolls crushing, classification prior to an open circuit ball milling with stirred mill finish.

[0028] In another aspect, there is provided a system and a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction that includes bulk sorting and sensor based ore sorting as ore sorting methods.

[0029] In another aspect , there is provided a system and a method for preparing ore for precious metal extraction that includes coarse flotation.

[0030] The aspects described above can be combined in any suitable combination.

[0031] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and the specific examples while indicating embodiments of the invention are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0032] Embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, where like reference numerals indicate like parts. The skilled person in the art will understand that the drawings, described below, are for illustration purposes only.

[0033] Figure 1 is an exemplary process flow for mineralized ore.

[0034] Figure 2 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore.

[0035] Figure 3 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore.

[0036] Figure 4 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore. [0037] Figure 5 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore.

[0038] Figure 6 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore.

[0039] Figure 7 is another embodiment of a process flow for mineralized ore.

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS

[0040] Reference is first made to Figure 1 which shows an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 10.

Process 10 depicts a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill, ball mill, pebble crusher (SABC) circuit. In this process 10, a primary crusher 12, SAG mill 14, pebble crusher 16, screen 18, cyclone 20, and ball mill 22 is used.

[0041] In operation, raw material of various size is usually delivered to the primary crusher's 12 hopper. Primary crushing reduces the large pieces to a size which can be handled by the downstream machinery. Primary crusher 12 is chosen to provide a suitable crushing ratio for the size of raw material to be crushed, the production rate, and the desired product output size. A typical example of primary crushing is reducing the ore to a particle size that is less than about 1000 mm and more typically, from about 1000 mm to about 200 mm. Primary crusher 12 may be chosen from, but is not limited to, a gyratory crusher, tooth roll sizers (e.g. direct drive crusher (DDC)-sizers), or a jaw crusher.

[0042] Material from the primary crusher 12 is delivered to the SAG mill 14. SAG mills are semi-autogenous mills that utilize steel balls in addition to large rocks for grinding. Attrition between grinding balls and ore particles causes grinding of finer particles of less than about 10mm and more typically, particle sizes of about 10 mm to about 3 mm. The inside of the mill is lined with lifting plates to lift the material inside the mill, where it then falls off the plates onto the rest of the ore charge. SAG mills are typically used at gold, copper and platinum mines with applications also in the lead, zinc, silver, alumina and nickel industries.

[0043] From the SAG mill 14, material is passed through a screen 18. Screening type may be, but is not limited to, circle-throw vibrating, high frequency vibrating equipment, gyratory, and trommel screens. Screen 18 separates particles into a large and small group of particles. The large group of particles having a size of about 100 mm, more typically from about 100 mm to 50 mm. The small group of particles having a size of less than about 10 mm. From the screen 18, the larger material may be passed through a pebble crusher 16 for further processing and sent back to the screen 18.

[0044] Material is then passed to the cyclone 20. A cyclone is a mechanical device designed to reduce or increase the concentration of a dispersed phase, solid, liquid or gas of different density, by means of centripetal forces or centrifugal forces within a vortex.

Cyclones are used extensively both to classify particles for recirculation in grinding circuits and to differentiate between the acceptable material for downstream processing and material that requires additional milling. The material passed on for downstream processing has a size of about 10 mm or less. The material requiring additional milling has a size of about 30 mm, and more typically, a size range of about 30 mm to 20 mm.

[0045] Material requiring additional milling is passed to at least one ball mill 22. The number of ball mills used in a circuit may depend on the characteristics of the ore being processed and/or the size of the mill and the desired maximum throughput. In typical embodiments, the number of mills relates to tonnage and hardness. For example, the method described herein can be directed to a nominal 50,000 tpd hard rock application and specific throughput will vary based on material type, breakage function and desired liberation.

[0046] A ball mill consists of a hollow cylindrical shell rotating about its axis. The shell is partially filled with balls. The grinding media is the balls, which may be made of steel (or alloys of chrome and steel), stainless steel, ceramic, rubber, or pebbles of greater hardness than the ore being milled. From the ball mill 22, material is passed back to the cyclone 20 for further sorting into material that is passed downstream for further processing or material that will require additional milling. The material passed on for downstream processing has a size of about 10 mm or less. The material requiring additional milling has a size of about 20 mm, and more typically, a size range of about 20 mm to 10 mm.

[0047] As an illustrative example, process 10 is used to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of about 40 and BWi of about 13.2 kWh/t. A 40’ x 22’ SAG mill 14 is used with two 24’ x 36’ ball mills. In this case, about 20.0 kWh/t energy consumption occurs with an installed energy of about 46 MW. More typically, an energy consumption range of about 18 kWh/t to about 22 kWh/t and an installed energy range of about 43 MW to about 48 MW occurs.

[0048] Figure 2 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 30. Process 30 has a primary crusher 12, a first or primary crusher screen 32, a secondary crusher 34, a second or secondary crusher screen 35, a rolls crusher 36, a third or rolls crusher product screen 38, a cyclone 20, and at least one ball mill 22. Specifically, process 30 replaces the SAG mill 14 and pebble crusher 16 process 10 with an open-circuit secondary crusher 34 and a large- diameter rolls crusher 36. [0049] In operation, raw material is delivered to the primary crusher 12. The crushed material is passed to a first screen 32 for separating the material by size into larger material that gets passed on to a secondary crusher 34 and smaller or fines material that is passed on to the rolls product screen 38. The first screen 34 passes to the secondary crusher 34 larger material of a size of about 100 mm, but more typically of a size range of 100 mm to about 50 mm. Fines material is usually of a size range of about 15 mm or less, more typically of a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. Secondary crusher 34 reduces material from the primary crusher screen 32 into smaller desired particles. A typical example of secondary crushing may reduce the particle size from about 200 mm to about 20mm, more typically, about 200 mm to about 50 mm. Secondary crusher 34 may be, but is not limited to, a cone crusher, a rolls crusher, an impact crusher, a hammer mill, and a toothed sizer (e.g. direct drive crusher (DDC)-sizers).

[0050] From the secondary crusher 34, material is passed to a secondary crusher screen 35. Larger material from the secondary crusher screen 35 is then passed to rolls crusher 36. Smaller or fines material from the secondary crusher screen 35 is passed onto rolls crusher screen 38. Larger material from the secondary crusher screen has a typical size range of about 50 mm to about 30 mm. Fines material from the secondary crusher screen typically has a range of about 15mm to about 6mm. A rolls crusher 36 utilizes two rolls rotating about a shaft, towards the gap between the rolls. The gap between the rolls is set to the size of product desired. The material is passed from the rolls crusher 36 to a rolls crusher product screen 38.

[0051] Primary crusher screen 32 and secondary crusher screen 35 utilize fines bypass, where fine particles are passed to later stages of the process. Fine material or fine particles are of a size less than about 15 mm, more typically, less than about 6 mm. This bypassing of fine material allows the fines to pass directly through subsequent comminution stages and potentially to the final process without being reground. This will limit the formation of slimes and provide improved metallurgical performance in potential downstream processes such as flotation. In the example shown in Figure 2, the fine material from primary crusher screen 32 and secondary crusher screen 35 is passed directly to rolls crusher screen 38.

[0052] From the rolls crusher product screen 38, smaller screened material is passed to the cyclone 20. Larger screened material from the rolls crusher product screen 38 is passed back to the rolls crusher 36 for further crushing. Smaller screened material from the rolls crusher product screen 38 is typically of a range of less than about 15 mm, more typically having a range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. Larger screened material from the rolls crusher product screen 38 having a range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm. [0053] Smaller screened material from the rolls crusher screen 38 is passed from the cyclone 20 onto further processing. The cyclone separates the material into material that requires additional milling and material that is passed on for downstream processing.

Material requiring additional milling having a size range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm and is passed to at least one ball mill 22. Material that is passed on for downstream processing typically having a size range of less than about 10 mm.

[0054] As described above with respect to Figure 1 , a cyclone 20 (or hydrocyclone) is a mechanical device designed to classify, separate or sort particles in a liquid suspension based on the ratio of their centripetal force to fluid resistance. This ratio is high for dense and coarse particles, and low for light and fine particles. Particles of less than about 500 pm proceed to the cyclone overflow and particles of greater than about 500 pm proceed to the cyclone underflow. The mixture is injected into the cyclone in such a way as to create the vortex and, depending upon the relative densities of the two phases, the centrifugal acceleration will cause the dispersed phase to move away from or towards the central core of the vortex. A cyclone will normally have a cylindrical section at the top where liquid is being fed tangentially, and a conical base. The angle, and hence length of the conical section, plays a role in determining operating characteristics.

[0055] By placing the cyclone 20 on the rolls crusher screen 38 stream, there is direct classification and splitting of material according to the process, which provides a more energy-efficient process for its particular size range.

[0056] As an illustrative example, in process 30, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, a

2.6 m ø rolls crusher, and two 26’ c 40.5’ ball mill are utilized to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of about 40 and BWi of about 13.2 kWh/t. A specific energy consumption of about 17.9 kWh/t occurs with about 2 MW for conveyors, and an installed energy of about

41 MW. More typically, an energy consumption range of about 16.5 kWh/t to about 19 kWh/t and an installed energy range of about 38 MW to about 43 MW occurs. In this example, a specific energy reduction of about -16% compared to process 10 occurs. Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -12% to about -18%.

[0057] Figure 3 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 40. Process 40 follows process 30 until the final grinding stage where after the cyclone 20 a second cyclone

42 and a stirred mill 44 are added. While one stirred mill 44 is shown in the diagram, there may be a plurality of stirred mills, placed in parallel or series, utilized in the circuit. Typically, the number of stirred mills would be dictated by total energy required for size reduction to the final grind size, which may be determined by the desired liberation for a particular mineralized ore.

[0058] Acceptable material from cyclone 20 passes to the second cyclone 42. This smaller acceptable material may be of a size range of about 15 mm to about 6 mm. Material requiring additional milling from second cyclone 42 is passed to stirred mills 44 for further grinding and passed back to the second cyclone 42. Material requiring additional milling is usually of a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm. Size ranges of particles may be predicated by downstream processing needs; for example, P80 of about 90 microns (about 80% of particles finer than about 90 microns).

[0059] The stirred mills 44 are configured in a reverse closed circuit so that material that is finer than the targeted final grind size would pass directly to the downstream without being further reground. In a typical stirred mill, a grinding chamber is filled with small grinding media (e.g. small beads) whereby comminution takes place by attrition between the beads. The stirring effect can be caused by rotating discs mounted on a shaft or a rotating auger which mobilizes the grinding media. There are also stationary discs on the mill body positioned in between each rotational disc. Acceptable material from the second cyclone 42 is passed on for further processing to extract desired metals.

[0060] As an illustrative example, to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of about 40 and BWi of about 13.2 kWh/t, in process 40, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, one 2.6 m 0 rolls crusher, one 24’ x 36’ ball mill, and four 4500 HP stirred mills are utilized.

About 13.8 kWh/t specific energy consumption occurs, which includes about 2 MW for conveyors. More typically, a specific energy consumption range of about 13.1 kWh/t to about 14.5 kWh/t occurs. About 34 MW installed energy occurs. More typically, an installed range of about 32 MW to about 36 MW occurs. A specific energy reduction of about -31 % compared to process 10 also occurs for this configuration. Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -28% to about -33%.

[0061] Figure 4 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 50. Unlike process 40, in process 50, the undersize from the rolls crusher screen 38 is fed to cyclone 20 that splits the product between an open-circuit ball mill 22 (cyclone underflow) and stirred mill closed circuit (cyclone overflow). Process 50 follows process 40 until the final grinding stage where the ball mill 22 is placed in an open circuit. Specifically, after the rolls crusher screen 38, the material passes to cyclone 20 for separation. Material requiring additional handling, typically of a size range of about 30 mm to about 20 mm, passes to the ball mill 22 which then passes to second cyclone 42 and on to further processing. Acceptable material from cyclone 20, typically of a size range of about 15mm to about 6mm, is passed to second cyclone 42. Material separated in second cyclone 42 that requires further treating is passed to stirred mills 44 in a closed circuit. Material that requires further treating from the second cyclone 42 is typically of a range of about 20 mm to about 10 mm. Having the ball mill 22 in an open circuit allows for energy savings and a further reduction in size of the ball mill.

[0062] As an example, if in process 50, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, one 2.6 m ø rolls crusher, one 22’ x 34’ ball mill, and four 4500 HP stirred mills are utilized, about 13.3 kWh/t specific energy consumption occurs, which includes about 2 MW for conveyors. More typically, a specific energy consumption range of about 12.5 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t occurs. About 33 MW installed energy occurs. More typically, an installed energy range of about 31 MW to about 35 MW occurs. A specific energy reduction of about -34% compared to process 10 occurs for this configuration. Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -30% to about -37%.

[0063] Figure 5 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 52. Process 52 follows process 50 except after the primary crusher screen 32, material is passed to an ore sorter 54. Similarly, after secondary crusher screen 35, material is passed to the ore sorter 54 and to the rolls crusher 36. Typically, material that is greater than about 20 mm is passed to the ore sorter. From the ore sorter, the material is sorted as either waste 56 or is passed on to the rolls crusher 36.

[0064] Ore sorting is separating an ore into constituent parts. Ores are sorted to increase the efficiency of other refining processes, by reducing, for example, the amount of material to be processed while simultaneously increasing its purity. Ore sorter 54 may be a sensor-based ore sorter. Sensor-based ore sorting allows for the rejection of waste material and avoids the use of energy required for comminution. As part of the illustrative example, it is assumed that less than about 30%, typically about 10% to about 20% of the feed to the process 52 will be rejected as waste 56 by the ore sorter 54.

[0065] Ore sorter 54 uses sensors (not shown) to sort low-grade waste material from the ore. Then the ore may be treated and waste 56 which is removed from the process. Sorting may be carried out on streams from primary crusher screen 32 and secondary crusher screen 35. The sensors may be, but are not limited to X-ray transmission (XRT) sensors, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensors, or 3D laser sensors.

[0066] As an illustrative example, to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of about 40 and BWi of about 13.2 kWh/t using process 52, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, one 2.6 m 0 rolls crusher, one 20’ * 32’ ball mill, three 4500 HP stirred mills are utilized. About 1 1.5 kWh/t specific energy consumption occurs, which includes about 2 MW for conveyors and about 2 MW for sorting. More typically, a specific energy range of about 9 kWh/t to about 14 kWh/t occurs. About 28 MW installed energy also occurs. More typically, an installed energy range of about 25 MW to about 30 MW occurs. A specific energy reduction of about -43% compared to process 10 also occurs. Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -40% to about -47%.

[0067] Figure 6 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 60. Process 60 follows process 52 except after the after the primary crusher screen 32, material is passed to bulk sorter 62 and ore sorter 54. Typically, material less than about 80 mm would go to the ore sorter and more typically, material of about 20 mm to about 80 mm would go to the ore sorter. Typically, material greater than about 80 mm would go to the bulk sorter. More typically, the material that would go to the bulk sorter would have a range of 300 mm to about 80 mm. A further waste reduction could be possible by using a bulk sorter 62 on the coarse fraction from the primary crusher screen 32.

[0068] Use of bulk sorting on the coarse fraction from the primary crusher screen 32 allows for the rejection of waste material while avoiding energy expenditure required for comminution. Conveyor-based sorting technology could employ multiple sensors including X-ray transmission (XRT) and 3D laser and sorting algorithms to reject low-value waste material. As part of the illustrative example, it is assumed that a further about 20% of the feed to process 60 will be rejected as waste by the bulk sorter 62. Waste 56 rejected from the process 60 can also reduce overall energy required for comminution. Acceptable material from bulk sorter 62 is passed to the secondary crusher. Process 60 then follows process 52.

[0069] As an illustrative example, to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of about 40 and BWi of about 13.2 kWh/t using process 60, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, one 2.6 m ø rolls crusher, one 18’ c 32’ ball mill, and three 4500 HP stirred mills are utilized. About 9.5 kWh/t specific energy consumption occurs, which includes about 2 MW for conveyors and about 3 MW for sorting. More typically, a specific energy consumption range of about 8 kWh/t to about 12 kWh/t occurs. About 26 MW installed energy is also expected. More typically, an installed energy range of about 23 MW to about 28 MW occurs. A specific energy reduction of about -52% compared to process 10 also occurs. Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -50% to about -55%.

[0070] Figure 7 shows another embodiment of an exemplary process for separating metal from mineralized ore and is generally referenced by the numeral 70. Process 70 follows process 60 until the final grinding stage where coarse flotation 72 is used on the material from the open circuit ball mill 22. Process 70 is well-suited for coarse flotation as it contains minimal fines having a top size of less than about 0.5 mm. Concentrate from the coarse flotation 72 could proceed to the second cyclone 42 and the stirred mill 44 while the tails could be a waste product. As part of the illustrative example, it is assumed that a further about 20% of the feed to the circuit will be rejected as waste by the coarse flotation. In another embodiment of process 70, material from ball mill 22 may proceed to cyclone 20, as indicated by the dotted line from ball mill 22 to cyclone 20, putting the ball mill 22 in a closed circuit configuration for certain amenable ore types.

[0071] As an illustrative example, using process 70 to process ore with moderate hardness of A*b of 40 and BWi of 13.2 kWh/t, two 1250 HP secondary crushers, one 2.6 m 0 rolls crusher, one 18’ x 32’ ball mill, and two 4500 HP stirred mills are utilized. About 8.8 kWh/t specific energy consumption occurs, which includes about 2 MW for conveyors and about 3 MW for sorting. More typically, a specific energy consumption range of about 7 kWh/t to about 10 kWh/t occurs. About 23 MW installed energy is also expected. More typically, an installed energy range of about 20MW to about 25 MW occurs. A specific energy reduction of about -56% compared to process 10 occurs for this configuration.

Typically, the specific energy reduction of about -55% to about -60%.

[0072] As one skilled in the art can appreciate, all of the calculated ranges used in the description can have a range of ±5% size specific energy.

[0073] In embodiments, the process/method can be used with any mineralized ore and it may be used to extract any suitable metal. The metal(s) may be selected from, for example, precious metals, transition metals, and rare-earth metals. The metal may be selected from the group consisting of gold, silver, rhenium, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, platinum, copper, nickel and combinations thereof. More specifically, the metal may be gold, silver, platinum, copper, and/or nickel and in particular, in gold recovery from mineralized ores.

[0074] In understanding the scope of the present application, the articles“a”,“an”,

“the”, and“said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements, unless specifically stated otherwise. The use of“or” means“and/or”, unless specifically stated otherwise. Additionally, the term "comprising" and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be open ended terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, cores, groups, integers, and/or steps, but do not exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, cores, groups, integers and/or steps. The foregoing also applies to words having similar meanings such as the terms, "including", "having" and their derivatives. [0075] It will be understood that any aspects described as“comprising” may also

“consist of” or“consist essentially of,” wherein“consisting of has a closed-ended or restrictive meaning and“consisting essentially of means including the components or steps specified but excluding other components or steps except for materials present as impurities, unavoidable materials present as a result of processes, and components added for a purpose other than achieving the technical effect of the invention.

[0076] It will be understood that any feature defined herein as being included may be explicitly excluded from the claimed invention by way of proviso or negative limitation.

[0077] In addition, all ranges given herein include the end of the ranges and also any intermediate range points, whether explicitly stated or not.

[0078] Finally, terms of degree such as "substantially", "about",“significantly” and

"approximately" as used herein mean a reasonable amount of deviation of the modified term such that the end result is not majorly changed. These terms of degree should be construed as including a deviation of ±5% of the modified term if this deviation would not negate the meaning of the word it modifies.

[0079] It is to be understood that the foregoing is exemplary and explanatory only, and it is to be understood that such detail is solely for that purpose and that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover modifications and equivalent arrangements that are within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. As an example, it is to be understood that the present invention contemplates that, to the extent possible, one or more features of any embodiment can be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment.