Initially developed in 1994 for Glencore's zinc processing operations, the Albion Process™ technology has found a valuable role in refractory gold processing with two large sites in the Dominican Republic and Armenia using the technology for their highly complex orebodies.
The Albion Process™ is a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure. Base or precious metal concentrates are fed into the Albion Process™ and the sulphides in the feed are oxidised and liberated, allowing the wanted metals to be recovered by conventional means.
By using the Albion Process™, these sites now have a more efficient and simple way of recovering gold. While other technologies can perform similar work, they tend to involve far more complex processes and are not as cost-effective as the Albion Process™.
Considered as 'enabling technology', some orebodies would be considered uneconomical if processed by using other methods but these are able to be mined and processed thanks to the Albion Process™.
The first stage of the Albion Process™ is ultra-fine grinding of the concentrate, using the energy efficient IsaMill™ technology. After the concentrate has been finely ground, the slurry is then leached, in agitated vessels and oxygen is introduced to the leach slurry to oxidise the sulphide minerals using Glencore Technology's HyperSparge™ supersonic injection lances.