A novel process was studied to extract economic metals from refractory ores that are difficult to leach with cyanide and ammonium thiosulfate, such as the well-known mangano argentiferous minerals, which are minerals of manganese, iron, and silver. The mineral under consideration originates from the tailings of the Monte del Favor, Hostotipaquillo Jalisco, Mexico. The sample was characterized by x-ray diffractometry, atomic absorption spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and microanalysis by energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. First, the material was passed through a 100-mesh screen, and then it was subjected to reductive leaching by varying the liquid–solid (L/S) ratio from 2:1 to 10:1 (observations were carried out at a ratio of 5:1, which yielded higher extraction of manganese). With H2SO4 and Na2SO3 as the reducing agents, manganese extraction of up to 96.05% was achieved during the first 3 h with a mineral head of manganese 3.58%, acid consumption of 90.74 g/L, and sulfite consumption of 25.8 g/L. The mineral was then filtered and proceeded to neutralize the acidity, reaching a pH of 8 with calcium hydroxide. Then, the material was subjected to a new leaching of gold and silver values with ammonium thiosulfate. The L/S ratio was varied (1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1), and the contact time and the concentration of ammonium thiosulfate was investigated, while controlling the pH using Ca(OH)2 and NH4Cl. An L/S ratio of 2:1 showed the best extraction of silver (97.06%) and gold (86.66%), and the thiosulfate consumption was 10.36 g/L. The mineral head of gold and silver was 0.30 g/ton and 310 g/ton, respectively. The pH was maintained between 9.8 and 8.4, such that ammonium thiosulfate stabilized with lime, and ammonium chloride did not suffer any decomposition.
Tiburcio Munive, G., Encinas Romero, M. A., Vazquez, V. M., Valenzuela García, J. L., Valenzuela Soto, A., & Coronado Lopez, J. H. (2017). Dissolution of Gold and Silver with Ammonium Thiosulfate from Mangano-Argentiferous Ores Treated in Acid-Reductive Conditions. JOM, 69(10), 1901-1908. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11837-017-2338-2