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Fundamentals and applications of metal-ligand complexes of gold(I/III) in non-cyanide gold processes

Senanayake, G. (2004) Fundamentals and applications of metal-ligand complexes of gold(I/III) in non-cyanide gold processes. In: Green Processing 2004 - 2nd International Conference on the Sustainable Processing of Minerals, 10 - 12 May, Fremantle, Western Australia


Despite the research interest on non-cyanide gold lixiviants over the past three decades all the non-cyanide gold processes are still at the developmental stages with limited understanding on solution and pulp chemistry in some cases. This is partly associated with: 1. the difficulties in measuring reliable equilibrium data for various gold(I/III) complexes with non-cyanide ligands; 2. the lack of knowledge on mixed-ligand complexes; and 3. different kinetic stabilities of gold(I) complexes with respect to disproportionation. This paper presents reliable equilibrium data for complex formation, dissolution, precipitation, hydrolysis and disproportionation reactions of gold(I/III) compounds with a range of non-cyanide ligands: S 2-, HS -, S 2O 3 2-, SO 3 2-, SCN -, SC(NH 2) 2, OH -, NH 3, Cl -. Solubility of gold(III) compounds with non-cyanide ligands follows the order: Cl - > NH 3 > OH -. In the case of gold metal the solubility order at a given temperature is MgS > Fe(III) or Cu(II) / Cl - > Cu(II)/NH 3 > NaOH, but the solubility increases with increasing temperature. Rate of gold oxidation with different non-cyanide lixiviants depends on the oxidant, ligand and temperature and follows the general order of oxidants: Fe(III) or Cu(II) > X 2 or OX - > O 2 (X = halogen). In the case of metal ion oxidants oxygen is required to reoxidise Cu(I) or Fe(II). Some of the reported data on chloride and thiosulfate leaching of gold are presented to highlight the effect of additives and the copper, silver and sulfur contents of the starting material on the success of non-cyanide leaching processes.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions
Publisher: Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Publication Series
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