A recent Nevada Gold Mines research program focused on the pressure oxidation (POx) pretreatment of a Carlin-type double refractory ore from the Turquoise Ridge Mine. The research team found that both arsenian pyrite and carbonaceous matter were highly oxidized within an hour at 300 °C using a bench-top autoclave reactor and that the gold recovery from the residues after cyanide/carbon-in-leach (CIL) approached the technical limit set by the amount of gold encapsulated by silicate minerals. Although the 60-min pretreatment at 300 °C yields robust performance when treating a whole ore, copper additives can catalyze the oxidation rate of carbonaceous matter and reduce the residence time needed at elevated temperatures. Certain gangue minerals are susceptible to dissolution in acidic solutions at 300 °C, and this may cause poor gold recovery. This recovery challenge is mitigated by keeping free acid in the discharge solution below a key threshold.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:1563–1570, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-022-00638-5