Russian chemists, together with their Chinese colleagues, have developed a new technology of extracting gold from ore. The new technology lowers the cost of gold mining by 30−40%, the press service of the National University of Science and Technology MISIS reported.
“The price of gold will influence the introduction of our technology. Of course, there are more efficient technologies which can extract almost 100% of the gold from the ore, but they require a huge investment which makes them less viable at the moment. Our technology allows for extracting 85−90% of the gold, which is the standard and most acceptable result,” said university Professor Vadim Tarasov.
In contrast to traditional gold mining processes, such as 19th century era nugget panning or sand sifting, copper and other ores that contain gold are chemically processed today.
Gold is extracted directly from ores using water and cyanic acid compounds that easily mix with gold. This technology allows for extracting almost all the gold from the ore, but the process, as the university press service pointed out, is slow and expensive. It takes at least 100−120 hours, which will cost about $800 per ounce (30 grams) of gold.
Chemists from NUST MISIS and their Chinese colleagues from mining companies have developed a new gold extraction technology that cuts production costs by 30−40 percent. Apart from cyanic acid compounds, the technology uses hydrocyanic acid making the process four to eight times faster than the traditional method. It also reduces the percent of unwanted substances such as copper. It will take miners much less effort and resources to clean gold from copper from now.
According to the press service, this new technology has already been tested at a gold mine in Tajikistan whose ore contains a large share of copper. Scientists say that the Russian technology exceeds existing western developments as it successfully separates copper from gold and reduces the time required for ore processing by 80%.