Applications of microbeam analytical techniques in gold deportment studies and characterization of losses during the gold recovery process

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Aug 31, 2017
  • Author: Stamen S. Dimov, Brian R. Hart
  • Journal: Surface and Interface Analysis

Many gold deposits are characterized by the presence of refractory (submicroscopic) gold in the matrix of sulfide minerals which is not directly amenable to gold cyanidation. In order to recover this submicroscopic gold, the ore has to be oxidized before being subjected to gold cyanidation and extraction. This is done by autoclave pressure oxidation (AC POX), a technology commonly used in the mining industry for ores with a high refractory gold content. Gold ores commonly contain active carbonaceous materials which have the ability to adsorb, or preg‐rob, gold during the AC POX and/or cyanidation steps of the recovery process, and gold losses can be significant.

Advanced microbeam analytical techniques such as dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (D‐SIMS) and time‐of‐flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF‐SIMS) have become powerful tools for characterization of different forms and carriers of gold in the mining industry. Major advantages of these techniques are related to the investigation of individual mineral particles and quantitative analysis with detection limits in the low ppm/ppb concentrations. This paper describes various microbeam techniques and procedures implemented at Surface Science Western (SSW) which have become an intricate part of a comprehensive mineralogical and analytical approach for ore characterization and process mineralogy. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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