With the depletion of high-quality ores, the efficiency of extracting difficult gold ores through flotation and leaching becomes very important in the mining industry. Iron contaminants, sulfide and carbonaceous coatings on the surface of gold and gold bearing minerals significantly hinder the recovery of gold during gold processing. As the surface of gold minerals is easily contaminated, coatings of iron oxides and iron hydroxides originated from the grinding process and oxidation of iron sulfides will cause a retarding effect on both gold flotation and leaching.
To mitigate the processing issues caused by undesirable surface coatings on gold minerals, a new technology in treating surface coatings of iron contaminants has been developed. The pulp potential and pH of the slurry are altered to allow dissolution of surface coatings which are further excluded by the use of complexing reagents. The current work shows that iron contaminants can be removed from the surfaces of gold through Eh-pH adjustment and chelation which result in significantly improved gold flotation response. The addition of complexants aids the formation of iron chelates to prevent the iron species in the solution from forming iron oxide and iron hydroxide in the flotation conditions.
Wei, R and Peng, Y, 2014.
Mitigating the effect of surface coatings on gold processing, in Proceedings
12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 187–192 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).