In this study, mineralogical and microanalysis characterization, as well as diagnostic leaching and cyanidation tests, were performed to gain a better understanding of the refractory nature of the arsenical zone of a Carlin-type gold deposit and also to evaluate possible treatment routes to maximize gold recovery. The results obtained showed that only 56% of the ore’s gold content is amenable to direct cyanidation. The majority of the remaining gold was found as submicroscopic gold and in association with sulfide minerals, such as orpiment, pyrite, and sphalerite. It was also found that despite the abundance of silicate and carbonate minerals in the arsenical zone, they do not play a key role in the refractory nature of the ore, and gold can be liberated from such minerals by appropriate grinding. The analyses further revealed that orpiment dissolves readily during cyanidation, and this dissolution retards the kinetics of gold extraction. Pyrite and sphalerite were generally found to occur in fine network texture and in association with quartz. Flotation of such auriferous sulfides may be difficult due to their oxidized surface. Fine grinding (−20 μm) was found to be partially effective in improving gold extraction.
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Bidari, E., Aazami, M. & Aghazadeh, V. Process Mineralogical Study of the Arsenical Zone from a Carlin-type Gold Deposit. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 37, 1307–1315 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00221-w
- Refractory gold ore
- Diagnostic leaching
- Cyanide leaching