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Selective elution of gold, silver and mercury cyanide from activated carbon

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 205-211

Bunney, K.; Jeffrey, M.I.; Pleysier, R.; Breuer, P.L.


 A high-pressure laboratory elution rig was commissioned to simulate industrial Zadra and AARL elution conditions for the stripping of gold, silver and mercury from loaded activated carbon. It was found that cyanide was essential for the efficient elution of both mercury and silver, while gold was found to elute most effectively in hot, low-ionic strength solutions. Therefore, the standard AARL-type elution, which implements a cyanide soak and water elution, results in a lower recovery of mercury and silver from the carbon. No single set of conditions was found whereby gold, silver and mercury can all be effectively eluted in a single step. However, sequential elution conditions can efficiently recover all metals and provide a potential approach for separating these metals.