A retirement hobby may lead to mineral processing breakthrough

By George Rodger

In the mid-1970s, dry concentration of gold and tungsten minerals was investigated and a dry process pilot plant designed for a North African government for gold and tungsten deposits in the Sahara desert. A 5-gram-per-metric-ton (g/mt) gold deposit was selected as the location to operate the dry pilot plant for one year. Dry tables were selected as the concentration device with air being the fluid medium. Treating five particle size ranges coarser than 200 mesh, those tables achieved gold recoveries greater than 90%. The dry process fatal flaws were a low unit area of production capacity for the dry air tables. And, the amount of vibration those tables generated would have required a substantial building structure. These flaws outweighed the economics.
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