The recovery of critical and precious metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is an environmental and economic imperative. Biosorption has been considered a key technology for the selective extraction of gold from hydrometallurgical liquors obtained in the chemical leaching of e-waste. In this work, the potential of tannin resins prepared from Pinus pinaster
bark to sequester and recover gold(III) from hydrochloric acid and aqua regia solutions was assessed. Equilibrium isotherms were experimentally determined and maximum adsorption capacities of 343 ± 38 and 270 ± 19 mg g−1
were found for Au uptake from HCl and HCl/HNO3
) solutions containing 1.0 mol L−1
. Higher levels of acidity (and chloride ligands) significantly impaired the adsorption of gold from both kinds of leaching solutions, especially in the aqua regia system, in which the adsorbent underperformed. Pseudo-first and pseudo-second order models successfully described the kinetic data. The adsorbent presented high selectivity towards gold. Actually, in simulated aqua regia WEEE liquors, Au(III) was extensively adsorbed, compared to Cu(II), Fe(III), Ni(II), Pd(II), and Zn(II). In three adsorption–desorption cycles, the adsorption capacity of the regenerated adsorbent moderately decreased (19%), although the gold elution in acidic thiourea solution had been quite limited. Future research is needed to examine more closely the elution of gold from the exhausted adsorbents. The results obtained in this work show good perspectives as regards the application of pine bark tannin resins for the selective extraction of Au from electronic waste leach liquors.
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