Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
Traditionally, bottle roll tests have been used to optimize the extraction process for best gold extraction and recovery. Such tests typically involve exposing the ore to defined reagent concentrations (lime, cyanide and sufficient oxygen) and balance the gold input with recoveries and losses. With mounting pressures to accommodate sustainability issues during development work, it became apparent that much more information would be required on the interactions and kinetic behaviour of solid and solution species during the entire leach process. This information is vital to enable proactive management of critical issues such as cyanide, arsenic, water and tailings management. Inadequate management of these aspects has led to temporary closures and, in cases of noncompliance, to the dynamically changing regulations. MINTEK's advanced leach facility (ALF) is being developed with the aim of bridging the knowledge gap between the gold leach process and the predictable environmental impacts upon discharge. The facility aims to monitor all parameters of relevance such as pH, Eh, dissolved oxygen, metals, cyanide species, and viscosity during the entire process to enable more informed decisions on practical interventions. The presented set of data reflects first experiences gained from processing a refractory gold ore concentrate. Attempts at optimizing the process were limited due to the developmental nature of the work. Data relating to leaches with differing preoxidation conditions and cyanide staging is presented.