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Cyanide using in gold mining and environmental standards

The main objective of this work was to determine the effectiveness and kinetics of hydrogen peroxide in destroying cyanide in the tailings slurry from a gold mine with low sulphide and heavy metal content. The impacts of catalyst (Cu) and hydrogen peroxide concentrations, temperature and pH on the extent and rate of weak acid dissociable (WAD) cyanide destruction were investigated. Experiments were conducted using the variable-dose completely mixed batch reactor bottle-point method. Both the rate and extent of CNWAD destruction generally increased with increasing peroxide doses for either absence or presence of Cu catalyst. Catalyst addition was very effective in terms of not only enhancing the cyanide destruction rate but also significantly reducing the required peroxide dosages to achieve CNWAD concentrations of about 1 mg/l, independent of the temperatures tested (10, 20 and 30 °C). The initial cyanide destruction rates increased between 1.2 and 3 folds with the addition of 30 mg/l of Cu. Kinetic experiments showed that in most cases little CNWAD destruction occurred after a reaction time of 2–4 h. The impact of slurry pH on cyanide destruction varied depending upon the dosages of Cu catalyst. Relatively lower peroxide dose/CNWAD ratios required to achieve less than 1 mg/l of CNWAD may be due to lower heavy metals and sulphide content of the ore, resulting in lower peroxide requirement for metal bound cyanides. During cyanide destruction, nitrate was initially formed as a by-product and then possibly converted to other some volatile nitrogen-containing species, as supported by the mass balance calculations.
Biological treatment is a proven process for the treatment of mining effluents such as tailings, wastewaters, acidic mine drainage etc. Several bacterial species (Pseudomonas sp.) can effectively degrade cyanide into less toxic products. During metabolism, they use cyanide as a nitrogen and carbon source converting it to ammonia and carbonate, if appropriate conditions are maintained. In this study, nine strains of Pseudomonas sp. were isolated and identified from a copper mine. Two (CM5 and CMN2) of the nine bacteria strains were used in a cyanide solution. Some important parameters in the biological treatment process were tested and controlled: pH, cell population and CN− concentration. Tests were conducted to determine the effect of the type of bacterial strains on the treatment of cyanide. Laboratory results indicated that biological treatment with Pseudomonas sp. might be competitive with other chemical treatment processes. This paper presents the results of an investigation of a biological treatment system for cyanide degradation in a laboratory batch process.
This paper discusses issues of cyanide management at the newly-constructed Ovacik gold–silver mine in Turkey. The mine, which has been using 120 ton/y of sodium cyanide (NaCN) since May 2001, was the first operation in the country to use cyanide to recover gold. Mine staff strives to continuously plan and provide detailed accounts of the management practices and initiatives being undertaken with regard to handling cyanide. It is believed that the programs and activities that have been implemented at Ovacik will facilitate improvement in this area.
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