Title: The effect of comminution equipment on gravity gold recovery in small-scale mining operations

Authors: R.K. Amankwah, R.S. Nartey, S. Al-Hassan, G. Ofori-Sarpong

Addresses: University of Mines and Technology, P.O. Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana. ' University of Mines and Technology, P.O. Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana. ' University of Mines and Technology, P.O. Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana. ' Energy and Mineral Engineering Department, The Pennsylvania State University, 216 Hosler Building, University Park, 16802, USA

Abstract: As a strategy to improve gold recovery in the small-scale mining industry of Ghana, comminution equipment utilised in grinding was investigated. Morphological studies show that gold particles liberated by hammer mills were globular, disc mills produced cigar-shaped particles, and stamp mills created flaky units. Up to 5% of the gold particles liberated using a disc mill were coated with iron due to smears from the grinding surfaces. Based on shape-factors, the efficiency of subsequent gravity concentration operations increased in the order of flakes < cigars < spheres. A proposed flowsheet increased the gold extraction by over 15%.

Keywords: Ghana; small-scale mining; gold mining; artisanal mining; environment; environmental pollution; human health; health risks; mercury amalgamation; hammer mills; disc mills; stamp mills; gold recovery; gravity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2010.033239

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2010 Vol.41 No.3/4, pp.316 - 325

Published online: 14 May 2010 *

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