Refractory gold ore contains sulfide minerals like pyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite that are difficult to be directly leached by cyanidation or by lixiviants such as thiourea and halides. In such cases, it is necessary to perform oxidative pretreatment of the ore to oxidize the sulfide matrix, and gold particles can be exposed to the solution during the leaching process . In recent years, hypochlorite and chloride solutions have been introduced as alternative materials for hydrometallurgical methods of gold extraction instead of cyanide solution . A previous study by Hasab et al.  reported that the gold dissolution rate in hypochlorite solution was higher than in the cyanidation process, due to the presence of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) as a strong oxidizing agent. In a hypochlorite leaching system, the change in pH can influence the presence of oxidant species in the solution: the hypochlorite ion (OCl−) is stable in pH greater than 7.5, HOCl can be found in pH between 4.0 and 7.5, and aqueous chlorine (Cl2 (aq)) is the predominant oxidant when pH is below 4.0. As HOCl is the most effective oxidizing agent for gold extraction, pH should be maintained in the range of HOCl stability .
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:1191–1201, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00376-6