Comparison Of Resin-In-Solution And Carbon-In-Solution For The Recovery Of Gold From Clarified Solutions

Deventer, J. van
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Testwork was done with two different adsorbents, Dowex-Minix gold-selective resin and activated carbon, to detemine their relative performances with regard to gold recovery from clarified low-grade solution employing a fixed-bed operation. The mill discharge from the milling-in-cyanide operation at a Witwatersrand gold mine was used as feed to the adsorption columns. A small amount of gold was leached during the milling process, so that this solution simulates, to a certain extent, a low-grade solution representative of a heap-leach operation. A speciation of the feed solution was done to establish which metal complexes were present in the milling-in-cyanide solution. This information was necessary to interpret metal loadings on the resin, as base metal cyanide species and their respective charges have an effect on the final gold loading capacity of the resin. Equilibrium isotherms were established for both adsorbents to estimate the rate of adsorbent flow anticipated for this specific feed solution. Breakthrough profiles were obtained at two different superficial linear velocities for each adsorbent. Mass transfer zone heights determined from the test work and the elution/regeneration time requirements were used to size a 150 m3/h full-scale plant for both adsorbents. A counter current configuration of adsorption columns, using three columns, should be suitable to recover gold effectively and to produce an effluent with a gold concentration below 0.01 mg/l. Based on the results obtained from the breakthrough tests, a preliminary techno-economic comparison was done between the resin-in-solution and carbon-in-solution options for the recovery of gold from low-grade solutions. This study indicated that the capital expenditure for a carbon-in-solution plant would be about 33 percent higher than that of a resin-in-solution plant. The operating expenditure for a resin-in-solution plant is expected to be only 60per cent of that for a carbon-in-solution plant. Keywords: resin-in-solution, carbon-in-solution, heap leach.
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