The adsorption of gold from cyanide solutions onto constituents of the reef, and its role in reducing the efficiency of the gold-recovery process

05 Sep 2018

Evidence for the adsorption or re-precipitation of gold from cyanide solutions onto gangue minerals of the Witwatersrand reefs has been gathered over a number of years by various investigators. The evidence from tests using radioactive tracers is conclusive and indicates that adsorption contributes about 0,1 g/t to the total gold loss from conventional reduction works. The loss is a function of the alkalinity and cyanide concentration of the solution, and it appears to be affected by the extent of time between milling and cyanidation. The heavy minerals appear to be the strongest adsorbers, and the clay minerals somewhat less strong adsorbers. A sensitive qualitative test based on thin-layer chromatography permits the extent of adsorption and desorption to be readily determined.