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Measurement of weak and dissociable (WAD) cyanide with a modified potentiometric titration

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 197-204

Botz, M.; Milosavljevic, E.; Ward, I.


The silver nitrate titration method is a rapid and acceptably accurate means of analyzing for cyanide in leach solutions that contain primarily free cyanide. However, in leach solutions containing elevated levels of copper, the titrimetric method overestimates the concentration of free cyanide and underestimates the concentration of weak and dissociable (WAD) cyanide. The authors have developed a modified potentiometric (MP) titration method for determining WAD cyanide that overcomes issues associated with high copper levels in solution. The new MP-WAD method involves addition of a chemical ligand to the sample prior to silver nitrate titration to release cyanide bound to copper. Once released from copper, cyanide in solution is no longer affected by the presence of copper, and titration results are quantitative rather than empirical. In multiple laboratory trials with synthetic solutions and complex actual leach solutions, analytical results obtained with the new MP-WAD method were found to be within about ±5% of analyses obtained with the USEPA OIA-1677 WAD cyanide analytical method.