Factors Affecting Gold Recovery in Cyanidation in East African Countries

Factors Affecting Gold Recovery in Cyanidation in East African Countries

Gold recovery through cyanidation is a common method used in East African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, and traditionally in Kenya. It involves the use of cyanide to extract gold from ore or tailings. However, it is important to note that in Kenya, cyanidation is forbidden by the Mining Act due to environmental concerns. Let’s explore the factors that influence gold recovery in cyanidation in these East African countries:

1. Gold Particle Size

The size of gold particles in East African ores or tailings can significantly impact the efficiency of cyanidation. Ensuring that the gold particles are finely ground allows for better contact with cyanide, leading to improved gold recovery percentages.

2. Mineralogy

The mineralogy of the ore or tailings in East Africa plays a crucial role in gold recovery. The presence of certain minerals, such as sulfides or carbonaceous matter, can affect cyanide consumption and hinder gold leaching, thereby influencing the overall gold recovery percentage.

3. Cyanide-Consuming Compounds

The presence of cyanide-consuming compounds in East African ores or tailings poses challenges in gold recovery through cyanidation. Compounds like copper minerals or carbonaceous matter can react with cyanide, reducing its availability for gold leaching and impacting the efficiency of the process.

4. Cyanide Concentration and Contact Time

Optimizing the cyanide concentration and contact time in East African cyanidation operations is crucial for maximizing gold recovery. Proper control and monitoring of cyanide concentration, along with appropriate contact time between the cyanide solution and the ore or tailings, can improve the overall gold extraction percentage.

5. pH Level

Maintaining the suitable pH level during cyanidation is important in East African countries. The optimal pH range typically falls between 9 and 11, facilitating the formation of favorable cyanide-gold complexes and enhancing gold leaching efficiency.

While cyanidation is a commonly practiced method in Uganda and Tanzania, it is important to note that in Kenya, cyanidation is explicitly forbidden by the Mining Act. The restriction on cyanidation in Kenya stems from environmental concerns regarding the potential risks associated with cyanide usage. Alternative gold recovery methods that comply with the local regulations and prioritize environmental sustainability are encouraged in Kenya.

Determining the percentage of gold that can be recovered through artisanal cyanidation

Determining the percentage of gold that can be recovered through artisanal cyanidation from tailings based solely on the initial concentration expressed in ppm (parts per million) determined by the aqua regia method or XRF is challenging. The recovery percentage can vary significantly based on several factors, including the ore mineralogy, particle size distribution, cyanide concentration, contact time, and the efficiency of the cyanidation process.

In artisanal cyanidation, the recovery percentages are often lower compared to industrial-scale operations due to limited infrastructure, suboptimal process conditions, and variations in the proficiency of operators.

Considering a rough estimate, artisanal cyanidation from similar tailings in some regions may achieve gold recovery percentages in the range of 40% to 70%. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that these figures are approximate and can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances and expertise of the artisanal miners involved.

For example, let’s say we have a tailings sample with a gold grade of 4 parts per million (4ppm), which falls within the common range of 20% to 30% of the initial total gold in tailings.

To calculate the potential gold recovery from this specific sample, we can apply the range of 40% to 70%.

So, based on these estimates, the gold recovery from the 4ppm tailings sample could range from 1.6ppm to 2.8ppm.

It’s important to note that these are rough calculations and actual recovery rates may vary depending on various factors such as mineralogy, processing techniques, and the skill level of the miners.

To get a more accurate estimation of gold recovery in artisanal cyanidation for your specific tailings, it is recommended to conduct on-site test work with experienced personnel from Start Your Own Gold Mine or consult with other experts who have knowledge of the specific conditions and practices in the region.


Proper tailings sampling is of utmost importance

Proper tailings sampling is of utmost importance in the mining industry as it allows for accurate characterization and assessment of the potential value of the tailings. Tailings are the waste materials left over after the valuable minerals have been extracted from the ore. These waste materials often contain traces of valuable minerals, including gold.

By conducting proper tailings sampling, mining companies can determine the composition and grade of the tailings, particularly the gold content. This information is crucial in making decisions regarding the economic viability of extracting the remaining gold from the tailings. It also helps in designing appropriate and cost-effective methods for gold recovery.

In East African settings like Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, proper tailings sampling is often neglected, leading to inaccurate results. Many tailings owners rely on “grab samples,” which are only small, non-representative samples taken from a specific location. They believe that the results obtained from laboratory tests on these samples accurately represent the gold content of the entire tailings deposit. However, this is not the case.

The lack of proper sampling and reliance on grab samples often result in incorrect understanding of the gold content in the tailings. As a result, many businessmen are losing money as they make decisions based on inaccurate information. It is essential to educate tailings owners and miners about the importance of proper sampling and the need for on-site field assaying.

At Start Your Own Gold Mine, we recommend training for tailings sampling and direct, on-site field assaying to determine what gold is recoverable and by which methods. This training helps miners understand the importance of representative sampling and ensures accurate results.

Additionally, by implementing additional fine gold recovery methods, miners can gain a significant amount of liberated gold from the tailings without having to spend money on expensive cyanidation. Advanced milling and modern leaching methods without cyanide have proven to increase gold recovery. Proper tailings sampling combined with these techniques can help miners earn cash by effectively extracting the remaining gold from the waste materials.

Incorporating additional fine gold recovery methods and modern leaching techniques without cyanide can increase gold recovery and help miners extract the remaining gold from tailings effectively. Proper tailings sampling combined with these techniques can enable miners to earn cash from the waste materials.

In conclusion, the efficiency of gold recovery in cyanidation in East African countries depends on various factors such as gold particle size, mineralogy, presence of cyanide-consuming compounds, cyanide concentration and contact time, and pH level. Understanding and optimizing these factors are essential for maximizing gold extraction while adhering to local regulations and ensuring environmental stewardship.

If you are interested in sampling tailings for gold recovery or determining the best ways of gold recovery, please contact us at Start Your Own Gold Mine. We have expertise in tailings sampling, on-site field assaying, and implementing effective gold recovery methods. We can assist you in maximizing your gold extraction while ensuring environmental sustainability and compliance with local regulations.

Contact us to Start Your Own Gold Mine

Contact us to Start Your Own Gold Mine. There is a simple rule at Start Your Own Gold Mine: if we can help you, we do, whenever and wherever necessary, and it's the way we've been doing business since 2002, and the only way we know

Contact Mr. Jean Louis by Telegram icon Telegram at username @rcdrun or by WhatsApp icon WhatsApp Business. Or call Mr. Louis at +256706271008 in Uganda or send SMS to +256706271008

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