Zinc-dust cementation of silver from alkaline cyanide solutions - analysis of Merrill-Crowe plant data

Parga, J. R. ; Miller, J. D. ; Wan, R. Y.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The direct recovery of precious metals from a1kaline cyanide solution is frequently accomplished by the well-established Merrill-Crowe process involving zinc-dust cementation. This is particularly true for silver. Plant data from two operations are presented and analyzed in terms of intrinsic reaction features. In such Merrill-Crowe plants a plate-and-frame filter press acts as a semicontinuous fixed-bed reactor with a distribution of particle retention times. For the plants studied, 99Yo of the silver is recovered with a solution retention time of less than 2 min. Differences in plant operating conditions and product characteristics can be related to the nature of the surface deposit of silver which forms on the zinc particles. From laboratory experiments and plant samples it has been found that the presence of lead in the system activates a change in the silver deposit morphology to the dendritic state which affects the rate of silver deposition as well as the filter cake porosity. Finally the plate-and-frame press is considered from an engineering perspective as a semi- continuous fixed - bed reactor to describe the behavior of the system.
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