A procedure was developed for recovering gold, silver, cobalt, copper, and zinc from a massive sulfide ore by a hydro-metallurgical process. The procedure consists of (1) oxygen pressure leaching; (2) iron, arsenic, and copper removal from the leach solution by precipitation; (3) selective extraction of cobalt and zinc from solution; (4) electro-deposition of the cobalt and zinc from the strip liquor; and (5) cyanidation of the pressure leach residue to recover gold and silver. The results are discussed in terms of efficiency of metal recovery and conclusions drawn as to possible benefits and broad applications of the process.
Ores that contain sulfide minerals are important resources for many of these vital commodities. Sulfide minerals are common forms for the strategic and critical metals cobalt and nickel.
Metallurgical processing of sulfide minerals can be complex because the minerals normally contain several associated metals. Cobalt and nickel ores usually contain copper, which can be present in a variety of forms, or other common metals; the cobalt and nickel are typically minor values. Lead, zinc, and copper are often associated with each other. Also, gold and silver are commonly associated with those base metals. Mineral recovery procedures must therefore deal with several metals