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TECHNOLOGY

High Shear Reactors

High Shear Reactors

The objective of leaching within a gold plant is for the lixiviant (normally cyanide solution) to make contact with liberated gold attached to suspended particles and dissolve this gold into solution. Once in solution, gold can be adsorbed onto carbon flakes or resin beads and recovered. The leach kinetics and effectiveness of this dissolution process are dependent on a number of parameters which define the process duration and gold recovery, which in turn influence the plant's capital cost, production capacity and overall viability.

How can the speed and effectiveness of this leaching process be increased?

Consider one of trillions of gold bearing particles suspended in a cyanide solution. As with all objects immersed in a moving fluid, it is surrounded by a "boundary layer" which is a thin film of laminar fluid which remains in contact with the object until sufficient force is applied to remove it. Much like the atmosphere "protects" the earth from harmful radiation, a particle’s boundary layer "protects'" it from rapid leaching.

Without High Shear Reactor
Boundary Layer prevents cyanide solution from making good contact with the gold particle.
With High Shear Reactor
Ultra-high turbulence removes boundary layer and allows cyanide solution to make good contact with gold particle.

Atom installs and commissions Hyperjet high shear reaction technology which promotes an abnormally turbulent environment in which particles’ boundary layers are temporarily stripped away, allowing for good contact between the cyanide solution and gold, resulting in dramatically accelerated leach kinetics and improved gold recovery.

Numerous installations of this technology at gold plants in Australia and internationally have validated these benefits.Recent laboratory tests on gold bearing material samples demonstrated that leaching was reduced from 16 to 4 hours and recovery was improved by almost 2%.