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J Sep Sci. 2008 Dec;31(22):3902-10. doi: 10.1002/jssc.200800416.

Capillary electrophoretic analysis of sulfur and cyanicides speciation during cyanidation of gold complex sulfidic ores.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Laval University, Québec, Canada.


A capillary electrophoretic protocol for the separation and quantification of the most important species potentially liberated during the cyanidation of gold sulfide-rich ores was accomplished in this study. The separation of 11 ions: S2O3(2-), Cu(CN)3(2-), Fe(CN)6(4-), Fe(CN)6(3-), SCN(-), Au(CN)2(-), Ag(CN)2(-), SO4(2-), OCN(-), SO3(2-), and HS(-) was achieved using an indirect UV detection method. The robustness of the analytical protocol was tested by analyzing ions speciation during the cyanidation of two gold sulfide-rich ores. The 1-h cyanidation of the two ores released up to six complexes into solution: S2O3(2-), Cu(CN)3(2-), SCN(-), Fe(CN)6(4-), OCN(-), and SO4(2-). The mineralogy of the ore was found to influence directly the nature and the amount of the dissolved species. Conserving the cyanidation solution for 72 h after sampling resulted in 96% total sulfur recovery. These results allow us to conclude that the analytical protocol developed in this study can become very useful for the optimization of precious-metals cyanidation plants.

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