1 Jun '17
Scientists at MISiS in Moscow in collaboration with China’s ZijinMiningGroup have developed a fast and cost-effective method of extracting gold from ores.
The new technology of processing gold-copper ores is expected to replace the widespread Russian method of extracting gold from copper-containing ores through direct cyanidation.
In the conventional approach, the process takes something between 100 and 120 hours, an obvious deficiency. In addition, copper impedes gold extraction, which leads to very low extracted quantities and a very high cost. An ounce of gold extracted through the traditional technology may cost up to $800, which makes production economically unattractive because at a stock exchange an ounce sells at $1,200.
The new technology is based on ammonia-cyanide leaching and is said to offset copper’s negative impact on the quantities of gold extracted from ore. The scientists conducted tests and are reported to have demonstrated a dramatically improved cost-effectiveness of the new approach, with the hours of processing reduced from 100-120 to 14-18.
Using ammonia-based cyanidation also enables the extraction of the precious metal from scrapped electronics and old computer hardware, the MISiS researchers said.