Free Gold Recovery By Coal-Oil Agglomeration
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2000
The gold mining industry has mainly relied upon the use of highly polluting chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide to recover gold from its ores. The Coal Gold Agglomeration (CGA) process was developed some years ago and has the advantage in that gold is recovered by a procedure which has little or no negative impact on the environment. A gold ore containing liberated gold particles is contacted with coal-oil agglomerates, where by the gold is recovered into the coal/oil phase. Laboratory scale batch tests were performed on an artificial mixture gold slurry and gold recoveries of up to 85% were found under optimized conditions. By recycling the coal/oil phase, it was found that the gold loading onto the agglomerates was increased. Tests performed on an industrial ore yielded slightly lower gold recoveries, and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis on the coal/oil phase showed that minerals other than gold was recovered into this phase. A comparative study was conducted whereby the CGA process was compared to mercury amalgamation. Gold recoveries obtained through amalgamation were 15% lower than by the agglomeration process, which indicates that this process can be considered favourably as an alternative to amalgamation.