In recent decades, the use of metal sulfides instead of hydroxide precipitation in hydrometallurgical processes has gained prominence. Some arguments for its preferential use are as follows: a high degree of metal removal at relatively low pH values, the sparingly soluble nature of sulfide precipitates, favorable dewatering characteristics, and the stability of the formed metal sulfides. The Merrill–Crowe zinc-precipitation process has been applied worldwide in a large number of operations for the recovery of gold and silver from cyanide solutions. However, in some larger plants, the quality of this precious precipitate is low because copper, zinc and especially lead are precipitated along with gold and silver. This results in higher consumption of zinc dust and flux during the smelting of the precipitate, the formation of the matte, and a shorter crucible life. The results show that pH has a significant effect on the removal efficiency of zinc and copper cyanide ions. The optimal pH range was determined to be 3–4, and the removal efficiency of zinc and copper cyanide ions was up to 99%.
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