Polysulfides As An Alternative Green Gold Leaching Technology - Preprint 09-103
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2009
High metal prices and new world trade standards and accounting for environmental liability in financial disclosures are creating markets for metals commodities that are produced using ?green technologies?. A promising "green" gold leaching system uses a polysulfide based lixiviant which is non-toxic and non-polluting. Laboratory testing has demonstrated selective gold extraction rates comparable to those of cyanide. The polysulfide lixiviant is a dilute aqueous solution which can be inexpensively produced from readily available chemical reagents and even mining wastes. The reagent system is self-buffering and maintains the optimal chemical environment for leaching. Treatment of residual leach solutions is not necessary because the lixiviant itself is not toxic, and breaks down as the system equilibrates. Simple closed system boiling is used to recover gold from process solutions. The polysulfide lixiviant can then be readily renewed and recycled back into the system, forming a closed loop system that conserves reagents and energy which minimizes operating costs. Economic projections have shown that the system can be used profitably for standard ore types and grades.