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Direct cyanidation and roasting combination of a semi-refractory massive sulfide ore

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 161-169

Abdollahi, H.; Karimi, P.; Amini, A.; Akcil, A.


In this study, cyanidation experiments were carried out on a massive sulfide ore sample, whose grades of the precious metals gold and silver were found to be 4.2 g/t and 311.9 g/t, respectively. Other elements in the ore were arsenic with average grade of 1,751.6 g/t; antimony, 619.7 g/t; zinc, 781.4 g/t; copper, 454.6 g/t; lead, 101.8 g/t; mercury, 324.3 g/t; and bismuth, 0.6 g/t. The first objective of test work focused on determining the best conditions for extracting gold from the ore, ground to less than 75 microns. Different influential parameters such as particle size fraction, cyanide concentration, pH and leaching time were investigated. The optimum parameters were found to be particle size fraction of less than 25 microns, cyanide concentration of 2,000 mg/L, pH of 11 and cyanidation time of 24 hours. In these optimum conditions, the highest gold and silver leaching efficiencies were 76.88 and 59.63 percent, respectively. In addition, roasting as pretreatment at a temperature of 700°C over a period of two hours was evaluated. Cyanidation testing of the roasted ore in the optimum conditions found increases in the gold and silver leaching efficiencies to 85.97 and 67.57 percent, respectively. Moreover, antimony extraction rose to 43.10 percent, from 23.73 percent without roasting.