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What Is the Difference between Gold Flotation and Cyanidation?

2019-09-06(14:43:54) 2818 3

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With the development of gold extraction technology, flotation and cyanidation are common process used for gold. But do you know the difference between flotation and cyanidation? This paper will make the comparison between flotation and cyanidation processes.


Flotation process is a common metal ore processing process, and it is also applicable to gold ore. It is mainly applicable to the gold-bearing quartz vein ore with fine gold particles and high floatability, multi-metal gold-bearing sulfide ore and carbon-bearing ore. 


The cyanidation is applicable to process flotation gold concentrates or amalgamated heavy separation tailings. It is also process muddy oxidized gold ores.

2. Process Flow and Recovery Rate

Flotation gold extraction process can be divided into a single flotation process, heavy - floating combined separation process, is relatively simple gold extraction process. The recovery of gold from flotation is considerable, the recovery of sulfide ore can reach 90%, and a few can even reach 95%~97%. The recovery rate of oxidized ore can reach about 75%, some even can reach 80%~85%.

Cyanidation gold extraction process is the main modern method of gold extraction, which has a strong adaptability to gold deposits. Its main process including cyanide leaching, adsorption from cyanide solution, get the finished product and so on several process, can be roughly divided into two kinds, continuous counter current washing with thickener, and use of zinc dust replacement precipitation recycling gold so-called conventional cyanidation leaching gold process, and do not need to filter washing, active carbon adsorption of recovery of gold from cyanide pulp directly without filtering cyaniding carbon slurry process, respectively, in the form of zinc dust replacement and activated carbon adsorption to extract gold from cyanide liquid to come out. The process is complicated, but the recovery rate of CIP and CIL is relatively high. The recovery rate of CIP and CIL can be stable at 80% or even above 90%. 

3. Technological Characteristics

Gold flotation is not only simple technology. Its infrastructure and equipment requirements are relatively simple. There is a little difference between single flotation process equipment and other metal ore flotation equipment.

On the contrary, the complex cyanidation gold extraction process requires complex and strict equipment and higher infrastructure investment. Therefore, compere to flotation, the cost of cyanidation is much higher.



Flotation and cyanidation are both chemical processing methods, therefore, the process of mineral processing is naturally indispensable agents. Gold flotation needs foaming agent, inhibitor, activator, collector and so on.

But for the cyanidation process, agent is relatively simple and the ore is just leached with cyanidation agent.

No matter which process these two technologies are, substances that will damage the environment will be produced in the process. At present, cyanide-little environmental gold extract has been developed as a substitute of traditional cyanidation agents to reduce the damage to the environment.

5.Case Analysis

Let's take a look at the application of these two gold extraction techniques from practical cases. Cambodia a gold flotation project, the mine ore processing is given priority to with natural gold, but throughout arsenopyrite fissure, pyrrhotite and cleft in the semiconductor and processing difficulty is big, the technical team, according to the mining characteristics, closely combined with the actual, for its design is given priority to with flotation of gold production line, undressed ore for mining large fluctuations, process operation to solve problems such as unstable. The advantages and disadvantages of flotation gold extraction and cyanidation gold extraction are summarized as follows:

Gold  extraction

Gold  flotation

Gold  cyanidation

Suitable  ores

Fine  gold particles, with floatable sulfide gold quartz vein ore, multi - metal  gold sulfide ore and carbon ore.

It  has strong adaptability to gold ore, such as ore containing natural  adsorbents such as clay, graphite, bituminous shale and iron oxide, and  complex gold ores such as arsenic-gold ore.

Recovery  rate

Recovery  of sulfide ore and oxidized ore can reach 90% and 75% respectively.

Heap  leaching method can reach 65%~80%, CIP and CIL can reach 80%


Simple  process, low investment in infrastructure equipment, can deal with the  distribution of refractory ore

The  recovery rate is high, the reagents have environmental substitutes, and the  damage to the environment can be reduced


The  use of agents can have an impact on the environment

High investment in infrastructure equipment, complex process


From the examples and comparison, we can conclude that the gold extraction technology is not applicable to all mines, no matter flotation or cyanidation. In the process of selecting the technology, the ore dressing test should be carried out on the mine first. According to the experimental results and the actual situation, the most suitable gold extraction method is the best.

Last: 3 Common Questions about Gold Flotation Processing Technology

Next: What Are the Common Nickel Mineral Processing Technologies?


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