Alkaline sulfide pretreatment of an antimonial refractory Au-Ag ore for improved cyanidation
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This paper presents the alkaline sulfide pretreatment of an antimonial refractory gold and silver ore. In the ore, gold occurs mainly as gold-silver alloys and as associated with quartz and framboidal pyrite grains, and, to a small extent, as the inclusions within antimonial sulfides. Silver is present extensively as antimonial sulfides such as andorite. Alkaline sulfide pretreatment was shown to allow the decomposition of the antimonial sulfide minerals (up to 98% Sb removal) and to remarkably improve the amenability of gold (e.g., from <49% up to 83%) and silver (e.g., from <18% up to 90%) to subsequent cyanide leaching. An increase in reagent concentration (1–4 mol/L Na2S or NaOH) and temperature (20–80°C), and a decrease in particle size seem to produce an enhancing effect on metal extraction. These findings suggest that alkaline sulfide leaching can be suitably used as a chemical pretreatment method prior to the conventional cyanidation for antimonial refractory gold and silver ores.
KeywordsPulp Density Stibnite Framboidal Pyrite Enargite Refractory Gold
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