Cyanidation is the main method used to extract gold from gold raw materials; however, a serious problem with this method is the low leaching rate. In order to improve gold leaching, the intensification behavior of mercury ions on gold cyanide leaching, for two types of materials, sulphide gold concentrate and oxide gold ore, was investigated. The results showed that mercury ions, with only a 10−5
M dosage, could significantly intensify leaching and gold recovery. The dissolution behavior of gold plate was also intensified by 10−5
M mercury ions. Microstructure analysis showed that mercury ions intensified the cyanidation corrosion of the gold surface, resulting in a loose structure, where a large number of deep ravines and raised particles were evident across the whole gold surface. The loose structure added contact surface between the gold and cyanide, and accelerated gold dissolution. Moreover, mercury ions obstructed the formation of insoluble products, such as AuCN, Au(OHCN), and Au(OH)x
, that lead to a passivation membrane on the gold surface, reducing contact between the gold and cyanide. These effects, brought about by mercury ions, change the structure and product of the gold surface during gold cyanidation and promote gold leaching.
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