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How to recover tellurium from tellurides? (3 replies)

DORA DORA
1 month ago
DORA DORA 1 month ago

How to recover tellurium from gold and silver tellurides?

GeoffC
1 month ago
GeoffC 1 month ago
2 likes by Alan Carter and David

Yes it was done by Emperor Gold Mines in Fiji in the 70's. The tellurides were recovered by flotation using just pine oil as a frother. The telluride con was oxidised using sodium hypochlorite and caustic soda solution. Cyanide was then used to leach the contained gold and silver. Tellurium was then recovered from the solids residue by leaching with sodium sulphide I think. The Tellurium was precipitated with sodium sulphite after the leach solution was filtered. From memory Hisshion developed this process. By the time I was there in the late 70's we didn't produce Tellurium as it wasn't worth it. A search of Emperor or Hisshion should provide more information. I have some hard copy notes but will not be able to access them for a few days.

As always Tellurium poisoning is a risk with the metal in solution so if you stink of garlic get yourself checked.

Paper on this is Cornwell, W.G. & Hisshion, R. J. (1976) "Leaching of Telluride Concentrates for Gold, Silver & Tellurium-Emperor Process" Transaction AIME Vol 260, p 108-112. Process is also mentioned in some texts on Telluride processing.

Alan Carter
1 month ago
Alan Carter 1 month ago

Thank you GeoffC,

The advantage of this process is the improved recovery of gold and silver now more fully liberated by the chemical oxidation of the tellurides. Here is the paper you refer to and another on gold/silver tellurides.

inOr
4 weeks ago
inOr 4 weeks ago

GeoffC, thanks for sharing that method, and the toxicity warning. I'm confused about the Tellurium precipitant, however.  In one sentence, you use sodium sulfide, while you use NaSulfite.  Are these really separate steps with 2 different agents, or is it a spelling issue? Thanks again.

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