Gold deportment and leaching study from a pressure oxidation residue of chalcopyrite concentrate

Jiajia Wu, Junmo Ahn, Jaeheon Lee

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13 Scopus citations


Pressure oxidation (POX) is an effective method for base metal extraction and a pretreatment of refractory gold ores. A residue from pressure leaching of chalcopyrite concentrate was collected and investigated for gold recovery and deportment of metals. A comprehensive mineralogical analysis and gold deportment study were conducted using techniques including X-ray diffraction (XRD), optical microscope, scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), and dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (D-SIMS). Gold leaching tests were performed using cyanide and glycine as lixiviants. The gold grade is 3.1 g/t, with 0.31% residual copper in the sample. Hematite was a dominant iron oxide (31.5%), and iron sulfate salts (45.4%) existed in various minerals phases. The gold deportment study revealed that 32.3% of the total gold was present as a visible gold, and the remainder was sub-microscopic gold. The visible gold was native gold with an average particle size of less than 20 μm. Colloidal gold, the dominant existence of invisible gold, was found in hematite, jarosite, and iron sulfate. Hematite was the major sub-microscopic gold carrier, forming a nonporous rimmed structure and locking gangue minerals randomly. Gold in arsenopyrite was found as solid-solution, accounting for 7.2%. Gold extraction of 84% was achieved by 500 mg/L NaCN, while only 35% of gold was extracted by 100 mg/L NaCN. A significant synergistic effect of cyanide and glycine was observed. The addition of glycine in cyanide leaching solution boosted the gold leaching kinetics and recovery. Gold recovery of 85% was observed with 100 mg/L NaCN and 0.3 M glycine in 24 h. In the hybrid leaching system, copper was stabilized by glycine and further utilized as a catalyst for gold leaching. To achieve higher gold extraction and lower lime consumption, a product with high sulfur oxidation degree and low iron sulfate content is preferable in pressure oxidation operation. Hematite is a stable product and does not impair gold leaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105583
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Basic iron sulfate
  • Cyanidation
  • Glycine
  • Gold deportment
  • POX residue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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