After the sulphide concentrate has been finely ground, it is then leached under atmospheric conditions in an oxidative leach to oxidise the sulphide mineral lattice to liberated base and precious metals for recovery. The oxidation process involves the injection and dissolution of gaseous oxygen into the slurry.
Oxygen is a poorly soluble gas in mineral slurries, and the process of gas injection and gas dissolution requires specialised equipment to ensure an efficient and cost effective solution. Glencore Technology has designed the Albion Leach Reactor to achieve the oxygen mass transfer required for oxidation of the sulphide minerals at low capital and operating cost.
The Albion Leach Reactor consists of the following components:
- A corrosion resistant alloy steel reactor that utilizes Glencore Technology's revolutionary ZipaTank™ modular tank technology. Glencore Technology's fully modular tank shell, base and roof systems can be rapidly installed on site in one third the time of a field welded tank and at much lower costs, requiring limited or no site welding.
- An agitation system consisting of a high solidity lower hydrofoil impeller to handle the combined duties of gas dispersion and slurry suspension, coupled with additional lower solidity impellers to ensure adequate mixing within the reactor. Glencore Technology designs the agitator support platform as an integral part of the Albion Leach Reactor to ensure safe and reliable installation and maintenance of the agitation system. Modular baffles are designed as integral components of the Albion Leach Reactor.
- On oxygen delivery and injection system consisting of Glencore Technology's HyperSparge™ technology.
- An exhaust gas capture and venting system to safely vent humidified exhaust gases from the reactor to atmosphere.
- Specialised instrumentation and control systems for operation of the Albion Leach Reactor.
- A slurry distribution system consisting of slurry risers within the Albion Leach Reactors, launders and isolation valves to provide slurry flow between the Albion Leach Reactors via gravity and minimise slurry bypassing.