In some mining operations prior to the leaching of the ore, a process called agglomeration take place, the objective is to increase the volume of the ore, by adhering the smaller particles with the larger ones, in order to stabilize the fines that come from crushing, and get a more uniform fragments also called pellets.

Some of the benefits of the agglomeration are:

  • Reduction of segregated fine particles.
  • Improve the oxygenation of the leaching yard.
  • Improve the extraction speed.

The agglomerator is a cylindrical structure located horizontally to the conveyor belts and has a slight inclination towards the discharge; this equipment is typically fed by a conveyor belt that came from the crushing circuit, on this conveyor, prior to the agglomerator lime and cement are added.

The control parameters that must be maintain for the optimal operation of an agglomerator are:

  • The feeding of dry material, which can be measured by a conveyor beltscale.
  • The addition of reagent flow, which is measured with a flow meter.
  • The moisture of the agglomerated mineral that typically should be close to 12%, and can be measured with a band moisture sensor, or by laboratory assays.

With these control parameters is possible to optimize the agglomeration process, having significant savings in reagents and improving mineral recovery, as well as the residence time in the leaching pads.

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