Agitation Leaching Theory And Practice Biology Essay

Agitation leaching is a chemical procedure where in the dirt that is to be assorted or slurried is kept in contact for a certain period of clip with fluid to be extracted. The metal solubility rate is reduces rather perceptibly, and the extraction gets completed on the attack of equilibrium between the metal nowadays in the solution and the metal contained on the surface of the dirt is approachedExcess metal will non be extracted from the surface of the dirt unless the dirt is accessed by fresh extraction solution and the contact clip additions when the system is at equilibrium. On making equilibrium, the dirt is separated from the extraction fluid utilizing deposit, inspissating, or elucidation. An agitation VAT coupled with a solid-liquid separation vas ( typical procedures like elucidation or deposit ) is considered to be a individual phase The procedure of extraction is so by and large continued in a separate extraction VAT and the clear solution obtained from the extraction procedure is used to rush up the rate of extraction [ 1 ] .

Agitation leaching-Practice

Cyanide and the Gold Industry


One of the most widely used industrial patterns is the cyanidation procedure in the gold industry. Amount of gold nowadays in ores typically occurs at really low concentrations in ores which by and large range from less than 10 gm/tonne. At the low degree of the gold concentrations the most prevailing method used extensively and one that is cost effectual is the aqueous hydrometallurgical extraction processes to pull out the gold from its ore. Typical hydrometallurgical gold recovery involves an agitation leaching measure where the gold is dissolved in an aqueous medium, followed by the separation of the gold bearing solution from the residues, or surface assimilation of the gold onto activated C.

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After elution from the activated C the gold is farther concentrated by electrodeposition or precipitation.Gold is one of the baronial metals and is non really much soluble in H2O. Complexes, like nitrile, is known for stabilising the gold species in solution, along with an oxidizer sooner oxygen thereby fade outing the needed sum of gold.

The sum of nitrile in solution required for complete disintegration may be typically of really low concentrations such as 350 mg/l which accounts for around 0.035 % of 100 % Na nitrileAlternate complexing agents for gold, such as chloride, bromide, thiourea, and thiosulfate signifier less stable composites and therefore necessitate more aggressive conditions and oxidizers to fade out the gold. These reagents present hazards to wellness and the environment, and are more expensive. This justifies the laterality of nitrile as the primary reagent for the leaching of gold from ores since its debut in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Industry, Transport and Storage of Cyanide

Approximately 1.1 million metric dozenss of H nitrile is produced yearly world-wide, with about 6 % used to bring forth cyanide reagents for the processing of gold. The staying 94 % is used in industrial applications including production of plastics, fire retardents, cosmetics, adhesives pharmaceuticals, nutrient processing and as an anti-caking additive for tabular array and route salts.Cyanide is manufactured and distributed for usage in gold excavation industries in a assortment of physical and chemical signifiers, including solid briquettes, flake nitrile and liquid nitrile.

Sodium nitrile is supplied as either briquettes or liquid, while Ca nitrile is supplied in flake signifier and besides in liquid signifier. The strength of majority nitrile reagents vary from 98 % for Na nitrile briquettes, 44-50 % for flake Ca nitrile, 28-33 % for liquid Na nitrile and 15-18 % for liquid Ca nitrile. The merchandise strength is quoted on a molar footing as either Na or Ca nitrile.The signifier of cyanide reagent chosen for usage typically depends on handiness, distance from the beginning and cost. Where liquid nitrile is used, it is transported to the mine by oiler truck or rail auto and is off-loaded into a storage armored combat vehicle. The truck or rail auto may hold a individual or dual walled armored combat vehicle, and the location and design of the discharge equipment varies by vehicle.Solid briquette or flake nitrile is transported to the mine in membranophones, plastic bags, boxes, returnable bins and ISO-containers. The mine by and large designs and constructs the necessary equipment to safely fade out the solid nitrile in a high-pH solution sing the packaging of the reagent.

The pH value of cyanide solutions during disintegration must be maintained above pH 12 to avoid the volatilization of the risky H nitrile ( HCN ) gas. The ensuing cyanide solution is so pumped to a storage armored combat vehicle prior to debut into the procedure.The cyanide solution is fed from the storage armored combat vehicle into the metallurgical procedure watercourse in proportion to the dry mass of solids in the procedure watercourse. The provender rate of nitrile is controlled to keep an optimal nitrile degree as demanded by the metallurgy of the ore being treated.

Ore Preparation

Preparation of the ore is necessary so that it can be presented to the aqueous cyanide solution in a signifier that will guarantee the optimum economic recovery of the gold. The first measure in ore readying is oppressing and grinding, which reduces the atom size of the ore and liberates the gold for recovery.Ore that contains free gold may non give a sufficiently high recovery by exclusive usage of nitrile leaching, due to a really long disintegration clip for big gold atoms. Such ore may foremost be capable to a gravitation recovery procedure to retrieve the free gold before being subjected to cyanide leaching.

Gold bearing ores that contain gold associated with sulfide or carbonous minerals require extra intervention, other than size decrease, prior to gold recovery. Gold recovery from sulfide ore is hapless because the nitrile preferentially leaches the sulphide minerals instead than the gold, and nitrile is consumed by the formation of thiocyanate. These ores are capable to a concentration processes such as floatation, followed by a secondary procedure to oxidise the sulfides, thereby restricting their interaction with the nitrile during the gilded leach. Carbonaceous minerals adsorb gold one time solubilised ; oxidising the ore prior to leaching prevents this. To counter this affect, the leaching procedure may besides be modified by the add-on of activated C to preferentially adsorb the gold.

Leaching with Aqueous Cyanide Solutions

When gold is leached in an aqueous nitrile solution it forms a gold-cyanide composite by oxidising with an oxidant such as dissolved O and cyanide complexation. This complex is really stable and the nitrile required is merely somewhat in surplus of the stoichiometric demand. However, in pattern the sum of nitrile used in leach solutions is dictated by the presence of other cyanide consumers, and the demand to increase the rate of leaching to acceptable degrees.

Typical nitrile concentrations used in pattern scope from 300 to 500 mg/l ( 0.03 to 0.05 % as NaCN ) depending on the mineralogy of the ore. The gold is recovered by agencies of either heap leaching or agitated mush leaching.

In pile or shit leaching the ore or agglomerated all right ore is stacked in tonss on a tablet lined with an impermeable membrane. Cyanide solution is introduced to the pile by sprinklers or a drip irrigation system. The solution percolates through the pile leaching the gold from the ore, and the attendant gold bearing solution is collected on the impermeable membrane and channelled to storage installations for farther processing. Heap leaching is attractive due to the low capital cost involved, but is a slow procedure and the gold extraction efficiency is a comparatively low 50-75 % .In a conventional milling and agitated leaching circuit, the ore is milled in semi-autogenously ball or rod Millss until it is the consistence of pulverization. The slurry is conveyed to a series of leach armored combat vehicles. The slurry is agitated in the leach armored combat vehicles, either automatically or by agencies of air injection, to increase the contact of nitrile and O with the gold and heighten the efficiency of the leach procedure. The nitrile so dissolves gold from the ore and forms a stable gold-cyanide composite.

The usage of O or peroxy compounds alternatively of air as an oxidizer increases the leach rate and decreases cyanide ingestion, due to the inactivation of some of the nitrile devouring species present in the slurry.The pH of the slurry is raised to pH 10-11 utilizing calcium hydroxide, at the caput of the leach circuit to guarantee that when nitrile is added, toxic H nitrile gas is non generated and the nitrile is kept in solution to fade out the gold. The slurry may besides be capable to other preconditioning such as pre-oxidation at the caput of the circuit before nitrile is added.

Highly activated C is used in the dissolved gold recovery procedure, either by presenting it straight into the CIL ( carbon-in-leach ) armored combat vehicles or into separate CIP ( carbon-in-pulp ) armored combat vehicles after leaching. The activated C adsorbs the dissolved gold from the leach slurry thereby concentrating it onto a smaller mass of solids. The C is so separated from the slurry by testing and subjected to further intervention to retrieve the adsorbed gold.When C is non used to adsorb the dissolved gold in the above-named leach slurry, the gold bearing solution must be separated from the solids constituents using filtration or inspissating units. The attendant solution, referred to as pregnant solution, is subjected to further intervention ( other than by C soaking up ) to retrieve the dissolved gold.The waste from which the gold was removed by any agencies is referred to as residue or tailings stuff. The residue is either dewatered to retrieve the solution, treated to neutralize or retrieve nitrile, or is sent straight to the shadowing storage installation.

Recovery of Dissolved Gold

Gold is recovered from the solution foremost utilizing either cementation on Zn pulverization or concentrating the gold utilizing surface assimilation on activated C, followed by elution and reasoning with either cementation with Zn or electro winning.

For efficient cementation, a clear solution prepared by filtration or counter current decantation is required.The most cost-efficient procedure is to make surface assimilation of the dissolved gold onto activated C, ensuing in an easier solid-solid separation based on size. To accomplish this ; the ore atoms must typically be smaller than 100 & A ; Acirc ; µm while the C atoms must be larger than 500 & A ; Acirc ; µm. Adsorption is achieved by reaching the activated C with the agitated mush. This can be done while the gold is still being leached with the CIL-process, or following leaching with the CIP-process.

The CIL-process offers the advantage of countering the surface assimilation of gold on carbonous or shale ore atoms, but is more expensive due to less efficient surface assimilation, increased gilded stock list and increased fouling and scratch of the C.Activated C in contact with a mush incorporating gold can typically retrieve more than 99.5 % of the gold in the solution in 8 to 24 hours, depending on the responsiveness of the C, the sum of C used and the sociable ‘s efficiency.

The laden C is so separated from the mush by screens that are air or hydro dynamically swept, therefore forestalling blinding by the close sized C atoms. The mush residue is so either thickened to divide the nitrile incorporating solution for recovery/destruction of the nitrile, or sent straight to the shadowings storage installation from which the nitrile incorporating solution is recycled to the leach works.The gold adsorbed on the activated C is recovered from the C by elution, typically with a hot acerb aqueous nitrile solution. The C is so regenerated and returned to the surface assimilation circuit while the gold is recovered from the eluate utilizing either zinc cementation or electro winning. If it contains important sums of base metals, the gold dressed ore is so either calcined or straight smelted and refined to gold bullion that typically contains about 70 – 90 % gold. The bullion is so farther refined to 99.99 % choiceness utilizing smelting, chlorination, and electro-refining. High pureness gold is taken straight from activated C eluates, utilizing late developed processes that utilize solvent extraction techniques to bring forth intensive leaching of gravitation dressed ores [ 2 ] .

Agitation leaching-Applications

Normally applied to a broad scope of ore types, agitation leaching has been in usage for good over 200 old ages. Leaching is typically performed in steel armored combat vehicles, and the solids are kept in suspension by air or mechanical agitation. Air agitation in carried out in conical-bottomed leach armored combat vehicles ( Browns or Pachuca armored combat vehicles ) was widely practiced in the early old ages of cyanidation but has been overtaken in recent times by more efficient mechanical agitation with decreased energy demands and improved commixture efficiency. Well-designed systems can near absolutely assorted flow conditions in a individual reactor, which help to optimise reaction dynamicss and do the most of available leaching equipment.

Particle size.

The stuff to be leached is ground to a size that optimizes gilded recovery and communition costs.

In a few instances, whole ore is being land to really less atom sizes for optimum processing, either by oxidative pre-treatment and/or leaching. Agitation leaching is seldom applied to stuff at greater coarse sizes because it becomes progressively hard to maintain harsh solids in suspension, and scratch rates increase. Increasingly, agitation leaching is being considered to handle really finely land stuffs and, with the progresss in ultrafine milling equipment have been ground to lesser atom sizes to emancipate gold contained in furnace lining along with the sulphide mineral matrices prior to processing by agitation leaching and/or oxidative pre-treatment.

Slurry denseness.

Leaching is normally performed at slurry densenesss of between 35 % and 50 % solids, depending on the solids ‘ specific gravitation, atom size, and the presence of minerals that affect slurry viscousness ( e.g. , clays ) .

Mass conveyance phenomena are maximized at low slurry densenesss ; nevertheless, solids keeping clip in a fixed volume of leaching equipment additions as the denseness additions. In add-on, reagent ingestions are minimized by maximising slurry denseness, since optimum concentrations can be achieved at lower doses, because of the smaller volume of solution per unit mass of stuff.

Alteration of pH

Alkali, required for slurry pH alteration and control, must ever be added before cyanide add-on to supply protective alkalinity, which prevents inordinate loss of nitrile by hydrolysis. Most leaching systems operate between pH 10 and 11. Staged add-on of base may be required throughout the leaching circuit to keep the coveted operating pH, peculiarly when handling ores incorporating alkali-consuming stuffs. pH control is achieved by manual or automatic ( online ) measuring at assorted phases in the procedure. Calcium hydrated oxide ( quenched calcium hydroxide, Ca ( OH ) , ) , or Na hydrated oxide can be used for pH alteration.

Calcium hydrated oxide ( quenched calcium hydroxide ) is the cheaper of the two but is less soluble and produces solutions that are much more susceptible to salt precipitation and scale formation. Unslaked calcium hydroxide ( CaO ) is used on occasion because it is less dearly-won than quenched calcium hydroxide, but it is less effectual for pH alteration.For nonacidic- or non-alkali-consuming ores, Ca hydroxide concentrations of 0.15 to 0.25 g/L are typically required to accomplish the coveted pH scope for leaching ( i.e.

, pH 10 to 11 ) . This represents typical lime ingestions of 0.15 to 0.5 kg/tonne for non-acidic ores.

Sodium hydrated oxide is known to be more effectual than Ca hydrated oxide at fade outing a assortment of minerals, peculiarly at high alkalinities, and it is a extremely effectual dispersant. This may ensue in the disintegration of ore components, such as silicates, to bring forth assorted solution species, which can later precipitate in a figure of unwanted signifiers, potentially impacting downstream procedures, including filtration, gold precipitation, or C surface assimilation. Consequently, Ca hydrated oxide is by and large the preferable method of pH control in agitated leaching systems.


Cyanide may be added to agitated leaching systems either anterior to the leaching circuit, that is, during grinding, or in the first phase of leaching. Subsequent reagent add-ons can be made into ulterior phases of leaching to keep or hike cyanide concentrations to maximise gilded disintegration.

In the absence of cyanide-consuming minerals in the ore or concentrate to be leached, cyanide concentrations used in pattern scope from 0.05 to 0.5 g/L NaCN, and typically between 0.15 to 0.30 g/L NaCN. Typical cyanide ingestions observed in agitated leaching systems for free-milling ores vary from approximately 0.

25 to 0.75 kg/t. In instances where the provender stuff contains important sums of nitrile consumers and/or high Ag content ( i.e. , & A ; gt ; 20 g/tonne ) , higher cyanide concentrations may be applied, that is, 2 to 10 g/L NaCN. In such instances, cyanide ingestions may change from 1 to 2 kg/t, and in some instances much higher, depending on the nature and sum of cyanide-consuming minerals. Cyanide concentrations are normally monitored by manual titration techniques or less normally by online nitrile analysers, based on titrimetric, colorimetric, potentiometric, and ion-specific electrode techniques.

Oxygen Content

Oxygen is typically introduced into leaching systems as air, either sparged into armored combat vehicles as the primary method of agitation, or supplied strictly for aeration.

In either instance, petroleum sparging systems are normally sufficient to supply satisfactory bubble scattering and to guarantee that equal dissolved oxygen concentrations are maintained. Typically, the sum of dissolved O concentrations can be maintained at, or even somewhat above, calculated impregnation degrees with air sparging. The optimal sparging system depends on the geometry of the leach armored combat vehicles. For illustration, conical-bottomed Pachuca armored combat vehicles with individual sparging points ( common South African pattern prior to about 1980 ) and flat-bottomed leach armored combat vehicles with multiple sparging points, or simple down-the-agitator-shaft add-on, have all been used.

In a few instances, peculiarly when handling ores that contain oxygen-consuming minerals, pure O [ 5 ] or H peroxide [ 4 ] have been added to increase dissolved oxygen concentrations above those come-at-able with simple air sparging systems.Residence clip. Residence clip demands vary depending on the leaching features of the stuff treated and must be determined by trial work. Leaching times applied in pattern vary from a few hours to several yearss. Leaching is normally performed in 4 to 10 phases, with the single phase volume and figure of phases dependent on the slurry flow rate, required abode clip, and efficiency of blending equipment used.

Counter-current leaching.

Leaching efficiency can be enhanced by the application of Le Chatelier ‘s rule. In drumhead, the lower the concentration of gold in solution, the greater the drive force for gilded disintegration to happen, although in a mass conveyance controlled reaction it is problematic what function this plays in gold leaching. An alternate account for this phenomenon is the reversible surface assimilation of gold nitrile onto the ore components.

The gilded surface assimilation is reversed when the solution is exchanged for a lower grade solution or when a stuff ( such as activated C or suited ion exchange rosin ) is introduced into the slurry, which actively competes for the Aurum nitrile species. This consequence can be exploited in pattern by executing intermediate solid-liquid separation stairss during leaching to take top-quality gold solutions, and rediluting the solids in the staying slurry with lower-grade leach solution and/or with freshwater plus reagents. Successful applications of this rule have been used at the Pinson and Chimney Creek, Nevada ( United States ) , and East Driefontein ( South Africa ) workss, and at other operations [ 6, 7 ] .At many runing gold workss, an addition in gilded extraction is observed when a leach slurry can be transferred from one type of procedure equipment to another ( i.

e. , between leach armored combat vehicles, thickenings, filters, pumps, and grapevines ) .This can be explained by the different commixture mechanisms in the different equipment, coupled with other factors, such as alterations in slurry per centum solids, alterations in solution composing, and the effects of pumping transportation ( i.e.

, stopper flow blending ) .Likewise, the benefits of the carbon-in-leach ( CIL ) procedure compared with leaching and carbon-in-pulp ( CIP ) have been clearly demonstrated both by experimentation and in pattern, even without the presence of interfering components in the ore [ 8 ] . The CIL procedure consequences in improved conditions for gold disintegration [ 3 ] .


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