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Gold Refining | Cyanide Leeching

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Primary Refining: Cyanide Leeching

  • Primary refining, or gold mining, is very controversial now because of its environmental impact. Primary techniques make use of dangerous chemicals, mar natural landforms, and often do not successfully bring wealth to gold-mining regions because of political and social instability. Cyanide leeching is used on rubble with gold ore deposits; the cyanide is collected and removed from the “tailings” of gold, though sometimes escaping into the environment and harming gold miners. For every ounce of gold brought up from the ground and refined to purity, somewhere between five and 50 tons of material will be used. This has prompted an increased emphasis on environmental best practices and sustainability.

Written by Robert L. Wilson

October 17, 2011 at 7:17 am

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