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The importance of mineralogical input into geometallurgy programs

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Abstract

Mineralogy is the link between ore formation and ore extraction. It is the most fundamental component of geomet programs, and the most important aspect of a life-of-project approach to mineral resource projects. Understanding orebodies is achieved by understanding the mineralogy and texture of the materials, throughout the process, because minerals hold the information required to unlock the value they contain. Geomet mineralogy programs absolutely require the appropriate expertise and at least three steps of mineral characterisation prior to using semi-automated or other methods: field examination, thorough core logging, and optical microscopy. Economic geological inputs for orebody characterisation are necessary for orebody understanding, and are exemplified by current research in the Zambian Copperbelt, where revised sequence stratigraphy and understanding of alteration, metasomatism and metamorphism can be used to predict topical issues at mine sites. Environmental inputs for sustainability characterisation are demonstrated by recent work on tailings from the Leadville, Colorado, USA area, including linking mineralogy to water quality issues. Risk assessments need to take into account the technical uncertainties around geological variability and mineral extractability, and mineralogy is the only metric that can be used to make this risk contribution.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Title The importance of mineralogical input into geometallurgy programs
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Contributing office(s) Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 10 p.
First page 17
Last page 26
Conference Title The Second AusIMM International Geometallurgy Conference
Conference Location Brisbane, Australia
Conference Date September 30 - October 2, 2013