Potassium Amyl Xanthate (PAX) as an alternative organic reactive for mercury removal from cyanidation process of amalgamation tailing

Kantarcı S., ALP İ., Youpoungam A. A.

Environmental Geochemistry and Health, vol.46, no.1, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10653-023-01826-y
  • Journal Name: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Gold amalgam, Mercury treatment, Precipitation, Surfactant, Xanthate
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Mercury is the heavy metal that is most difficult to remove from cyanide solution. This situation brings with it many environmental, health and economic problems. This study aims to effectively utilize xanthate by presenting a new strategy for purifying mercury in the cyanidation process of amalgamation residues. In the study, the removal of mercury by precipitation using PAX from cyanidation leach solutions of a well-characterized amalgamation residue was investigated. The dosage of the precipitation reagent is the most important parameter in the removal of mercury. The mercury removal efficiency increases with the increase in the PAX/Hg ratio, and when the removal ratio is 60, the precipitation efficiency reaches a value of 66.7%. Applying coagulation and flocculation procedures after the precipitation process increases the mercury removal efficiency. It is seen that with this application, mercury can be removed with an efficiency of 95.6% at the same reagent rate. With this application, the particle sizes of the precipitates are enlarged and their filtration properties are improved. It has also been determined that the precipitates formed are in the form of HgS, a stable mercury compound. These results indicate that mercury can be effectively removed in its steady state. It was found that the concentration of Au and Cu did not change significantly, while the concentration of Ag decreased during the precipitation processes.