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Article

Optimization of the Heap Leaching Process through Changes in Modes of Operation and Discrete Event Simulation

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Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial, Universidad Católica del Norte, Av. Angamos 610, Antofagasta 1270709, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería en Metalurgia y Minas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Av. Angamos 610, Antofagasta 1270709, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería Minera y Civil. Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso Xlll N°52, Cartagena 30203, Spain
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Departamento de Ingeniería en Metalurgia, Universidad de Atacama, Copiapó 1531772, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avda. Angamos 601, Antofagasta 1240000, Chile
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Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University, 3610 University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 0C5, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(7), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070421
Received: 19 May 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
The importance of mine planning is often underestimated. Nonetheless, it is essential in achieving high performance by identifying the potential value of mineral resources and providing an optimal, practical, and realistic strategy for extraction, which considers the greatest quantity of options, materials, and scenarios. Conventional mine planning is based on a mostly deterministic approach, ignoring part of the uncertainty presented in the input data, such as the mineralogical composition of the feed. This work develops a methodology to optimize the mineral recovery of the heap leaching phase by addressing the mineralogical variation of the feed, by alternating the mode of operation depending on the type of ore in the feed. The operational changes considered in the analysis include the leaching of oxide ores by adding only sulfuric acid (H2SO4) as reagent and adding chloride in the case of sulfide ores (secondary sulfides). The incorporation of uncertainty allows the creation of models that maximize the productivity, while confronting the geological uncertainty, as the extraction program progresses. The model seeks to increase the expected recovery from leaching, considering a set of equiprobable geological scenarios. The modeling and simulation of this productive phase is developed through a discrete event simulation (DES) framework. The results of the simulation indicate the potential to address the dynamics of feed variation through the implementation of alternating modes of operation. View Full-Text
Keywords: process optimization process; heap leaching; modes of operation; discrete event simulation process optimization process; heap leaching; modes of operation; discrete event simulation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saldaña, M.; Toro, N.; Castillo, J.; Hernández, P.; Navarra, A. Optimization of the Heap Leaching Process through Changes in Modes of Operation and Discrete Event Simulation. Minerals 2019, 9, 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070421

AMA Style

Saldaña M, Toro N, Castillo J, Hernández P, Navarra A. Optimization of the Heap Leaching Process through Changes in Modes of Operation and Discrete Event Simulation. Minerals. 2019; 9(7):421. https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070421

Chicago/Turabian Style

Saldaña, Manuel, Norman Toro, Jonathan Castillo, Pía Hernández, and Alessandro Navarra. 2019. "Optimization of the Heap Leaching Process through Changes in Modes of Operation and Discrete Event Simulation" Minerals 9, no. 7: 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/min9070421

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