Carbon Desorption Process Development at Micron Research (Western Australia)
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1982
An alternative process for desorbing and recovering metals from activated carbon has been developed, and is the subject of several patent applications by Micron Research (W.A.) The system uses the principle of conditioning the carbon in a strong alkaline cyanide solution followed by distillation desorption in a fractionating column, using the carbon as the column packing and methanol as the desorbing agent. The system offers the following advantages : (a) The processes of desorption, methanol recovery and reactivation are all carried out in a single column with the carbon itself acting as the column packing. No other desorption plant items or fractional distillation equipment are required. (b) The metal values are concentrated into the water content of the carbon and no other water is used except as condenser coolant. This produces very high grade gold silver solutions which give high current efficiencies in the electrowinning step. These high gold concentrations allow almost complete separation of gold and silver from copper in the electrolytic cell. (c) The process is completed to a tailing assay of less than 200g Au/tonne carbon in 15 - 20 hours allowing turn around of carbon batches on a daily Basis.