Developments in gold leaching using hydrogen peroxide

Loroesch, J. ; Griffiths, A. ; Knorre, H.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1990
Introduction Hydrogen peroxide is known to the mining industry as a powerful oxidant. able to attack and to destroy cyanide, the most important leaching reagent (Knorre and Griffiths, 1984; Griffiths, 1988; Griffiths, 1988). [ ] The most recent development, however, is the use of H2O2 as an oxidant in the cyanidation of precious metals. This application may appear to be a contradiction to the above mentioned detoxification process. This can, indeed, be the case if certain conditions are not considered carefully. Degussa has developed a new process to enable the application of H2O, in this field without having any detrimental effect on the cyanide. The incentive to seek an oxygen supplier like H2O2 instead of air was the fact that one of the most important conditions for the fast dissolution of gold is the presence of physically dissolved oxygen in the pulp (Kydryk and Kellog, 1954; Warstell, 1987). [ ] Complete gold recovery within a reasonable leaching time may only be achieved if the pulp is saturated with dissolved oxygen. Gold losses in leach operations mainly occur due to the following reasons: In some cases, the saturation of oxygen in the pulp cannot be achieved by aeration due to the difficulty to transfer oxygen from the gaseous into the liquid phase. This happens, for example, in pulps with a high viscosity. In such cases, even violent aeration only results in a low concentration of dissolved oxygen in the pulp. In any case, the starting phase of leaching requires the highest amount of oxygen. Therefore, it is especially important to raise the dissolved oxygen level to saturation in the starting phase. Peroxide assisted leach process (PAL) The intention of the process is to introduce oxygen in a liquid form. As a result of intensive research work, it could be shown that hydrogen peroxide can be used as a source of oxygen in the leaching of gold ores. To avoid side reactions, the following conditions must be applied: Hydrogen peroxide must be diluted before it is added to the pulp. The dosage of H2O, must be properly regulated based on the oxygen level of the pulp. An important part of the continuous O, control is a special oxygen electrode, which resists the extremely abrasive action of the pulp.
Full Article Download:
(177 kb)