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Scaleup of pressure oxidation processes

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2016, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 178-186

Gertenbach, D.D.



The successful commercialization of a pressure oxidation (POX) process for recovering metal values, including gold, copper, zinc, nickel and molybdenum, is the result of a carefully planned development program. The initial task involves developing one or more conceptual flowsheets, including the POX autoclave and downstream purification and recovery steps. A laboratory program is completed to determine the technical viability of the flowsheets, define the operating parameters for each step and provide information for an initial economic assessment of the process. The process is then confirmed during a continuous pilot plant program, providing engineering design data and other information for the commercial design. A well-thought-out development program has been shown to be critical for reducing the risk of commercializing POX processes. Experiences developing POX processes for refractory gold ores and copper concentrates are briefly discussed.