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Behavior of gold and silver in various processing circuits at the Fort Knox Mine

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 219-223

Lin, H.K.; Oleson, J.L.; Walsh, D.E.


 The free-milling ore characteristics of the Fort Knox gold deposit are ideal for studying gold and silver behaviors in various processing circuits without serious interference of sulfide minerals and other refractory factors. A galvanic effect leads to faster silver dissolution than gold dissolution and, as a result, the Au/Ag solution concentration ratio increases through the leach circuit. In the CIP circuit, Au adsorption is more effective than Ag adsorption. The Au/Ag solution concentration ratio decreases from 10.0 to 1.0 as the slurry advances from CIP tank #1 to CIP tank #5, while Au/Ag ratio in the carbon increases from 3.2 to 15.3, as the carbon advances from CIP tank #5 to CIP tank #1. Silver is stripped more effectively than gold from the loaded carbon. The Au/Ag ratio in solution reaches 2.0 in the first 75,700 L of strip solution that pass through the loaded carbon; as the stripping process continues, the Au/Ag ratio in the strip solution increases. In the electrowinning circuit, the Au/Ag ratio in the spent electrowinning solution is significantly lower than that in the electrowinning feed, indicating that Au is more rapidly deposited onto the cathode than Ag.