Noncyanide leaching of an auriferous pyrite ore from Ecuador

Munoz, G. A. ; Miller, J. D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Gold leaching of an auriferous pyrite ore from the Portovelo deposit in Ecuador indicates that noncyanide leaching systems, such as thiocyanate and thiourea, are not as effective as the traditional cyanide system. For example, whereas approximately 95% of the gold can be leached from the ore with cyanide, only about 50% gold dissolution can be achieved with a thiocyanate leaching system. Electrochemical measurements indicate that gold is not cathodically protected by pyrite in these systems. Based on the results of preliminary diagnostic experiments, it appears that gold dissolution in thiocyanate and thiourea systems is limited by passivation due to the formation of either elemental sulfur or sulfur compounds on the gold surface.
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