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Issue 7, 2004
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‘Green’ leaching: recyclable and selective leaching of gold-bearing ore in an ionic liquid

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Abstract

The recovery of gold and silver from ore in an ionic liquid is reported for the first time. The 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium hydrogen sulfate ionic liquid (bmim+HSO4) was employed, with iron(III) sulfate oxidant and thiourea added. Selective extraction of gold (≥85%) and silver (≥60%) from powdered ore (of dominantly chalcopyrite/pyrite/pyrrhotite/sphalerite mineralogy) was achieved at room temperature in 50 h, with other lower-value metals present in the ore (Cu, Zn, Pb, Fe) extracted to only low percentages. Gold extraction was similar to that achieved in aqueous H2SO4/thiourea/Fe2(SO4)3, and silver extraction was significantly better. Moreover, the ionic liquid can be recycled following selective stripping of gold and silver on activated charcoal, with reuse in at least four successive treatments leading to neither ionic liquid degradation nor any loss in extraction efficiency.

Graphical abstract: ‘Green’ leaching: recyclable and selective leaching of gold-bearing ore in an ionic liquid

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Apr 2004, accepted on 04 Jun 2004 and first published on 24 Jun 2004


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/B406148A
Citation: Green Chem., 2004,6, 313-315
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    ‘Green’ leaching: recyclable and selective leaching of gold-bearing ore in an ionic liquid

    J. A. Whitehead, G. A. Lawrance and A. McCluskey, Green Chem., 2004, 6, 313
    DOI: 10.1039/B406148A

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