Exploiting Malleability of Gold Enhances Recovery

Exploiting Malleability of Gold Enhances Recovery

A joint University of British Columbia and UNSW Australia/Australian Centre for Sustainable Mining Practices study developed a chemical-free method for extracting gold from gravity concentrate middlings. The team, including Associate Professor Michael Hitch, Director of the ACSMP have developed a method that exploits gold’s characteristic high malleability to increase metal recovery to over 90%.

Historically, high-density, mineral concentrates containing as much as 60% gold were not processed due to the inability of current gravity concentration methods to make the distinction between gold and other minerals such as cassiterite (Sn02) and were stockpiled and/or wasted.  By using a simple, small capacity rod mill, gold particles are flattened and agglomerated into other gold particles, where as the other minerals are crushed finer.  The newly formed gold flakes are screened out using progressively smaller sieves to recover the majority of the contained metal.

The implications of this method, eliminates the need for mercury amalgamation that has been the traditional method in many artisanal and small mining (ASM) operations globally.

The full article 'Exploiting the malleability of gold for placer concentrate extraction and recovery' was published in the international journal Minerals Engineering.

Associate Professor Michael Hitch


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