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Recovery of Gold and Silver and Removal of Copper, Zinc and Lead Ions in Pregnant and Barren Cyanide Solutions

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DOI: 10.4236/msa.2015.62020    5,044 Downloads   6,048 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Over the past decade the concern about toxic metals in freshwater has increased. Environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act have forced industries that produce metal containing wastewater to treat their wastewater prior to discharge. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of a novel method for the minimization of heavy metals in the wastewater from the mining industry. A very promising electrochemical treatment technique that does not require chemical additions is electrocoagulation (EC) and sulphide precipitation. The present study has been done for the recovery of gold and silver contained in pregnant solution from the cyanidation process using the electrocoagulation technology with iron electrodes; that is a developed alternative technology for the Merril-Crowe process. The average gold and silver content in pregnant solution was 4.27 and 283 ppm respectively and the recoveries were 92% for gold and 95% for silver, with optimum operating parameters of pH 10, residence time of 20 minutes and addition of sodium chloride of 4 gr/L. The results of precipitation process show that the elimination of lead, zinc, cooper and iron ions from the barren solution was successful, with optimum operating parameters of pH 3 and residence time of 15 minutes, and the recoveries were 99% of these ions. Finally the characterization of the solid products of gold and silver formed during the EC process with Scanning Electronic Microscope was performed. Results suggest that magnetite particles and amorphous iron oxyhydroxides (lepidocrocite) were present.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Figueroa, G. , Valenzuela, J. , Parga, J. , Vazquez, V. and Valenzuela, A. (2015) Recovery of Gold and Silver and Removal of Copper, Zinc and Lead Ions in Pregnant and Barren Cyanide Solutions. Materials Sciences and Applications, 6, 171-182. doi: 10.4236/msa.2015.62020.

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