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Glencore’s patented minerals processing technique designed to treat complex refractory ores – the Albion process – has after three test trial years been determined a highly effective methodology for gold and base metals ore types.

Partners on the technology – Core Resources and Glencore – presented on latest data from the GPM Gold Albion gold project in Armenia which has achieved an outstanding three years since start up.

 The project’s stunning success has been demonstrated with:

  • three years of performance well above design levels
  • Extremely fast ramp-up and commissioning
  • Low skill workforce successfully operating a low risk plant

This has irrefutably demonstrated the Albion Process as a lower-cost and more effective method of treating complex refractory gold ores, with major implications for the economics of these types of gold projects worldwide.

The Albion Process is a combination of ultra-fine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure.

The sulphides in the feed are oxidised and liberated, allowing the wanted metals to be recovered by conventional means.

The challenge

The GPM Gold project in Armenia had been faced with a strongly refractory gold resource (recoveries of 20% in test work) from 2012, as the historical simple oxide ores were depleted.

After researching the alternatives, new owners GPM Gold chose the Albion Process as the treatment route for these difficult ores.

The new plant was commissioned in 2014 and has since operated with stable gold recoveries above design levels, with often more than 95% gold recovery.

The outcome

The Albion plant is now producing 120 000 oz of gold per annum, at up to 130% of nameplate capacity.

Despite operating in an unindustrialised nation with a relatively unskilled workforce, gold recovery has been consistently above the design level of 92%.

This is despite widely varying feed, with sulphide oxidation varying from 30% to 80%, sulphur grade varying from 10% to 30%, and throughput varying from 100 tpd to 350 tpd.

In practice the Albion Process has proved remarkably robust and simple in operation, and consistently exceeds design parameters, despite a capital cost that is less than 70% of an equivalent pressure oxidation plant.

Six Albion plants in operation – a proven solution

Worldwide there are now three Albion operations in zinc, two treating gold, and with the recent commissioning of a plant in Africa, one copper installation.

Why Albion?

Albion Process POx
  Demonstrated in current operations
  Guaranteed by technology provider /
  Low capital costs
  Simple equipment + low skills requirement
  Short commissioning and ramp up period
  Can treat high carbonate material
  Tolerates variable feed rate and quality
  Lower operational and maintenance risks