Outotec has introduced its new MesoTHERM BIOX process to significantly reduce cyanide consumption in refractory gold ore treatment.
Traditionally, cyanide consumption with conventional bio-oxidation residues is higher than with residues produced through other oxidative technologies. The Outotec MesoTHERM BIOX® process, based on Outotec’s existing mesophile BIOX process, offers an easy, cost-effective upgrade path that can cut cyanide consumption by as much as 50% compared with conventional bio-oxidation, the company claims.
The BIOX process, which has been in commercial operation for over 30 years, was developed for the pre-treatment of refractory concentrates ahead of conventional cyanide leaching for gold recovery.
“The Outotec MesoTHERM BIOX process enhances the established mesophile BIOX process by combining mesophile bio-oxidation technology with a higher-temperature thermophile oxidative stage to enable an even more effective overall sulphide oxidation step,” Outotec says.
On top of cutting cyanide consumption by as much as 50% compared with conventional bio-oxidation, MesoTHERM BIOX significantly reduces the formation of thiocyanate – a common and stable cyanide species traditionally formed as a further by-product, the company said.
Solubilised species prevalent in the mesophile stage are decanted off in an inter-stage thickening step between the two oxidative processes, simplifying operation of the thermophile stage, the company explained.
For existing BIOX customers, upgrading to BIOX MesoTHERM is a “relatively simple process”, Outotec says. It involves reconfiguring the circuit with the addition of Outotec’s High Rate Thickeners for inter-stage thickening and Outotec OKTOP® Atmospheric Reactors for the thermophile step.
Craig van Buuren, Senior Process Engineer, Outotec, said: “Our conventional mesophile BIOX process has enabled the production of over 25 Moz of gold to date. This novel process takes advantage of these proven technologies to help our customers achieve significant cost savings while also reducing their environmental footprint.”