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Agglomeration is a pretreatment operation where the fine ore particles obtained after crushing and grinding will form larger aggregates. The process is often performed in a rotating drum where a liquid, often sulphuric acid, is added to the fine material to aid the lump formation.

Heap leaching is preceeded by agglomeration

Agglomeration precedes the construction of the leaching heap. The main reason for doing agglomeration is to obtain a heap with good permeability for the leaching solution. Some of the particles received after crushing are too small for heap leaching, even if this is normally good for leaching since larger surface area gives faster leaching kinetics. But if the fine particles are not agglomerated in heap leaching they might cause blocking of certain areas in the heap and thus percolation of leachate in that area is not feasible. This would result in reduced recoveries and higher costs for the operation.


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