Calcium Sulfide Precipitation of Mercury During Cyanide Leaching of Gold Ores
Description:Many gold-bearing ores throughout the Western United States contain small quantities of mercury. The presence of mercury not only decreases the gold-loading capacity of the activated carbon, but complicates the fire refining of cathodes and creates a potential health hazard. The Bureau of Mines investigated methods to limit mercury extraction during gold ore leaching and to remove mercury from cyanide leach solu-tions. Mercury dissolution was reduced from 40 to 10 pct by decreasing NaCN concentration from 20 lb to 0.34 lb per ton of solution at a pH of <11. When 0.1 lb CaS per ton of ore was added to a leach slurry, mer-cury extraction was reduced from 27 to 0.4 pct. Less than 0.5 pct of the mercury was solubilized when <0.1 lb CaS per ton of are, along with lime and NaCN, was added to a simulated grinding circuit.
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