An electrochemical study of the dissolution of gold in thiosulfate solutions. Part II. Effect of Copper

Suchun Zhang; Nicol, M. J.
March 2005
Journal of Applied Electrochemistry;Mar2005, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p339
Academic Journal
Thiosulfate has been considered as one of the most promising of the non-toxic alternatives to cyanide for the leaching of gold and much work has been carried out with the aim of understanding and improving the ammoniacal thiosulfate leaching process. In particular the behaviour of gold in thiosulfate solutions containing copper in the absence of ammonia has received little attention. It has been shown in this study involving electrochemical and leaching tests that copper ions catalyze not only the oxidation of thiosulfate but also the dissolution of gold in alkaline thiosulfate solutions. Electrochemical studies have shown that copper has a positive effect on the anodic dissolution of gold with increasing concentrations of copper resulting in higher dissolution rates of gold at a potential of 0.3?V. Studies on the dissolution of gold powder in alkaline oxygenated thiosulfate solutions containing low concentrations of copper have shown that the role of copper in enhancing the dissolution rate of gold is possibly associated with the formation of a copper-thiosulfate-oxygen intermediate which is more reactive in terms of cathodic reduction than dissolved oxygen. The electrochemical experiments have been complemented by a leaching study which has shown that milling of gold powder in the presence of copper (added as ions, metal, or oxide) assists with the dissolution of gold in thiosulfate solutions.


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