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A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN METALLURGICAL RECOVERY MAKES THE EL TORO GOLD PROJECT MORE COST-EFFECTIVE

Por: Ing. Wilson Bardales Torres, superintendente de Procesos; Ing. César Espejo Rodríguez, Jefe de Planta e Ing. Ángel Neira Escobar, Jefe de Geología, Summa Gold Corporation. 

Abstract

This work shows the benefits obtained during the development of El Toro gold project's geometallurgy; the low recoveries of around 40% obtained in metallurgical tests made it unfeasible despite the important resources contained in the deposit.

This challenge led to the creation of a multidisciplinary team led by our General Manager, Jaime Polar Paredes, including the areas of Geology, Mining, Planning, Processes and Costs in order to maximize recovery.

After an arduous work, the team was able to characterize in detail lithologies, alterations, mineralizations and pollutants, defining the geometallurgical units (GMU).

With these, over 6,000 tests were developed, including rapid tests (QLT and BRT), pilot cells and columns; identifying the significant variables that favor recovery, according to the concentration of gold and contaminants such as coal, sulfur and copper.

Additionally, the tests allowed to know the physical characteristics of the ore being able to incorporate to the reserves marginal materials and of low permeability to improve the project profile.

The success of this research allowed to significantly increase recovery, exceeding values of 70% at industrial level, allowing the project to move to its operational phase with a horizon of 8 years, becoming one of the most important discoveries in the country.

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