Selective Leaching of Gold From Copper-Gold Ores Using Ammonia-Cyanide Mixtures

Komosa T, ; Muir D M,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
Mixtures of ammonia and cyanide at low concentrations leach gold selectively from copper-gold ores. The effects of various reagent compositions on three different ore types containing between 0.3 - 1.5 per cent Cu are reported. It is shown that the results and optimum compositions vary according to the ore, which is attributed in part to the mineralogy and adsorption of solution species on the mineral surfaces. The solution chemistry of the Cu-NH3-CN system indicates that Cu(CN)a - and Cu(CN)3 species are involved in the leaching mechanism. Rotating disc studies on pure gold and copper are reported which show that the Cu(CN)32- species leach gold at about half the rate of CN but leach copper at the same rate. The presence of ammonia retards the leaching rate further. Mixtures of Cu(CN)a3- and NH3 effectively leach gold from Telfer tailing without leaching copper. The role of ammonia appears to be to control the precipitation of copper rather than the kinetics of leaching.
Full Article Download:
(579 kb)