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Metals 2019, 9(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9030274

Valorization of Mining Waste by Application of Innovative Thiosulphate Leaching for Gold Recovery

1
Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering, Italian National Research Council, Area della Ricerca di Roma RM 1—Montelibretti, Via Salaria Km 29,300—Monterotondo Stazione, 00015 Roma, Italy
2
Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, University of L’Aquila—via G. Gronchi 18, Zona Ind. le di Pile, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
3
Department of Earth Sciences and Environmental Technologies, Italian National Research Council, 00015 Roma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 23 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leaching Kinetics of Valuable Metals)
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Abstract

The metals and industrial minerals contained in the tailings of mining and quarrying activities, can degrade natural environments as well as human health. The objective of this experimental work is the application of innovative and sustainable technologies for the treatment and exploitation of mining tailings from Romania. Within this approach, the recovery of high grade raw materials to be placed on the market is achieved and reduction of these wastes volume are achieved. The current study is focused on hydrometallurgical process for the recovery of gold. The innovative treatment chosen is the thiosulphate process that, compared with the conventional cyanide, has several advantages (e.g., it is more ecologically friendly and is not toxic to humans). The conventional cyanidation process shows operating limits in the case of auriferous refractory minerals, such as Romanian wastes, the object of the study. An important characteristic of thiosulphate leaching process it has the best selectivity towards gold; it does not attack the majority of the gangue mineral constituents. Gold extraction of 75% was obtained under ambient conditions of temperature. Moreover, the overall process achieved about 65–67% Au recovery, this being in line with the conventional cyanidation process. As these results are obtained by application of the thiosulfate process on a low gold content ore, they may be considered encouraging. The optimization of process parameters and operating conditions, should permit the best results in terms of process yields to be achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: mining waste; hydrometallurgical processes; leaching kinetic; thiosulphate leaching; electrowinning; gold mining waste; hydrometallurgical processes; leaching kinetic; thiosulphate leaching; electrowinning; gold
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Ubaldini, S.; Guglietta, D.; Vegliò, F.; Giuliano, V. Valorization of Mining Waste by Application of Innovative Thiosulphate Leaching for Gold Recovery. Metals 2019, 9, 274.

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