Gold leching from a saudi ore by the nonpolluting thiosulfate process
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College of Science, Taif University
Central Metallurgical R & D Institute
National Research Center, Cairo
Faculty of Engineering, Taif University
Al-Neelain University
Publication date: 2015-01-01
Corresponding author
Osman Elhabib   

Faculty of Engineering, Al-Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2015;51(1):59-72
In all working Saudi gold mines, ores are treated using the hazardous cyanidation process. Some Saudi gold ores, such as Al-Amar, is known to be refractory to cyanidation. In this work, we have examined the extraction of gold from Al-Amar gold ore by the much environmentally safer and efficient thiosulfate process. The run of mine (ROM) and carbon-in-leach (CIL) feed, that is obtained after separation of copper concentrate from ROM, samples were found to contain 6.5 and 3.6 ppm gold, respectively. The mineralogical microscopic investigations of ROM samples confirmed that fine gold specks were scattered and encapsulated inside sulfide or quartz base minerals. This could explain the expected reason of the difficult leaching of gold by cyanidation. The X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the CIL feed contained quartz, pyrite, sphalerite and chlorite minerals. After detailed leaching studies of CIL feed, almost 70% of gold could be extracted at 0.2 M ammonium thiosulfate and 0.3 M ammonium hydroxide after 24 h. Addition of copper(II) as <0.2 mM only slightly enhanced the gold leaching in the ammoniacal thiosulfate solution. Gold leaching drastically decreased as the concentration of copper(II) increased 0.2 mM due to the degradation of S2O32-.
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