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Elution of gold from carbon by the micron solvent distillation procedure

Muir, D.M., Hinchliffe, W.D. and Griffin, A. (1985) Elution of gold from carbon by the micron solvent distillation procedure. Hydrometallurgy, 14 (2). pp. 151-169.

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The desorption of gold from activated carbon is promoted by adding organic solvents to aqueous cyanide solutions. At 65–80°C the elution of gold is fast and is not affected by water quality. The Micron procedure involves pretreatment of the loaded carbon with NaCN/NaOH followed by elution with methanol vapour and condensate. Carbon is packed into a column above the distillation pot and acts as a fractionating column. Recovery of the methanol condensate leaves a methanol-free concentrated gold solution and carbon containing less than 200 g t−1 gold suitable for recycling.

Aqueous acetonitrile and ethanol are equally effective solvents and desorb gold from carbon slightly faster than methanol. Results of laboratory and pilot testwork using methanol, ethanol and acetonitrile are described. Typically, gold is stripped from the carbon in 4–6 hours in 1 bed volume of solution to give concentrated gold eluates. The carbon retains a high kinetic activity after solvent stripping which is slightly better than that after stripping by the Anglo or Zadra procedures.

A cost evaluation indicates that the Micron procedure is cheaper than the Zadra procedure due to significant time and energy savings. It is suited to operations requiring regular and rapid carbon stripping and recycling.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 1985 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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