Selective Electrowinning of Silver and Gold From Cyanide Process Solutions
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the selective electrowinning of Ag and Au from cyanide solutions contaminated with Cu with the goal of decreasing the amount of Cu codeposited. Decreasing Cu codeposited will reduce refinery costs. Direct current was applied to the cell in pulsed and square wave voltages at 0.070 A•h per 150 mL of solution. Times tested for each cycle ranged from 1 to 10,000 ms. Graphite, lead, and stainless steel were evaluated as electrode materials. Square wave electrowinning at 70° C gave the best separation of Ag and Au from Cu. Applying 2.5 V during the duty cycle, 0.0 V the rest of the period, a duty cycle of 10 to 30 pct, and a period of 100 to 1,000 ms gave the following results: Ag concentrations decreased from 34 to 0.1µg/mL, Au concentrations decreased from 54 to 0.2 µg/mL, and Cu concentrations remained almost constant at 560 µg/mL.
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