Chun-bao Sun, Xiao-liang Zhang, Jue Kou, and Yi Xing, A review of gold extraction using noncyanide lixiviants: Fundamentals, advancements, and challenges toward alkaline sulfur-containing leaching agents, Int. J. Miner. Metall. Mater., 27(2020), No. 4, pp. 417-431. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-019-1955-x
Cite this article as:
Chun-bao Sun, Xiao-liang Zhang, Jue Kou, and Yi Xing, A review of gold extraction using noncyanide lixiviants: Fundamentals, advancements, and challenges toward alkaline sulfur-containing leaching agents, Int. J. Miner. Metall. Mater., 27(2020), No. 4, pp. 417-431. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-019-1955-x
Invited Review

A review of gold extraction using noncyanide lixiviants: Fundamentals, advancements, and challenges toward alkaline sulfur-containing leaching agents

+ Author Affiliations
  • Corresponding authors:

    Xiao-liang Zhang    E-mail: heutzxl2009@126.com

    Yi Xing    E-mail: xingyi@ustb.edu.cn

  • Received: 11 September 2019Revised: 11 December 2019Accepted: 20 December 2019Available online: 6 January 2020
  • Alkaline sulfur-containing lixiviants, including thiosulfate, polysulfides, and alkaline sulfide solutions, stand out as a promising class of alternatives to cyanide because of their low toxicity, high efficiency, and strong adaptability. In this paper, we summarized the research progress and remaining challenges in gold extraction using these noncyanide reagents. After a brief introduction to the preparation method, the transformation process of various sulfur-containing species in alkaline solutions was discussed. Thereafter, some insights into the mechanism of gold leaching in alkaline sulfur-containing solutions were presented from different aspects, including thermodynamics analysis, electrochemical dissolution, and leaching kinetics. Moreover, recent progress in in-situ generation of sulfur-containing anions from gold-bearing sulfide minerals was outlined as well. Gold passivation caused by sulfur species was discussed in particular because it is considered the greatest challenge facing sulfur-containing leaching systems. Alkaline sulfur-containing lixiviants are expected to serve as alternatives in industrial applications of gold extraction, particularly for refractory gold ores containing copper and carbonaceous matter.

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