• Ferric chloride leaching of the Delta sulfide ores and gold extraction from the leaching residue

      Lin, H.K.; Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1988)
      Conventional differential and bulk flotation processes have difficulties in achieving high recoveries with acceptable grades far zinc, lead and copper from the complex sulfide ores found at Tok, Alaska. Furthermore, gold and silver, which account for a significant fraction of total value of the ores, are distributed evenly in the flotation tailings and concentrate. Therefore, processing both flotation tailings and concentrate would be necessary to obtain high recoveries of gold and silver. A mineralogical study revealed that the economic sulfide minerals are interstitially associated with a large preponderance of pyrite. The economic sulfide minerals are 10 to 40 microns in size. These mineralogical facts explain the difficulties encountered in the flotation process. A hydrometallurgical method involving ferric chloride leaching and subsequent steps to recover lead, zinc, silver and copper from the leach liquor has been studied at the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, University of Alaska Fairbanks for the treatment of Delta ores. This alternative is attractive for processing complex sulfide ores which conventional flotation and smelting cannot handle. In addition, the liberation of sulfur in the environmentally acceptable elemental form, rather than as sulfur dioxide, may prove a major advantage of this hydrometallurgical method because of stringent environmental regulations.