Optimisation of gold recovery from small scale custom mills

Willie Nheta, Mahlori Nkwinika, Moselyn Mailula

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Custom mill tailings generated during the treatment of gold ores in Custom milling plants contains a considerable significant amount of gold (Au) and Silver (Ag). The potential of recovering gold and silver from the tailings by cyanidation leaching process was investigated. The custom mill tailings were characterised using Malvern particle analyser, XRF, XRD and SEM-EDs. In this study, the MiniTab software experimental design method was used to determine the optimum leaching conditions. The PSD results revealed that the custom mill tailings are coarse with 80% passing 2000μm. The tailings are a quartzite material containing minor amount of sulphides such as pyrite, chalcopyrite and pentlandite. The amount of these sulphides is very low ruling the probability of the tailings being refractory. Recoveries of 88 and 95% for gold and silver respectively were achieved leaching at 800g/t NaCN 8hrs. However, gold recovery above 85% was achieved by leaching in 600g/t NaCN for 8 hrs. Custom mill tailings have proved to be a source of precious metals and Min Tab software is a useful tool in optimisation of the leaching conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberMMME 134
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the World Congress on Mechanical, Chemical, and Material Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event6th World Congress on Mechanical, Chemical, and Material Engineering, MCM 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 16 Aug 202018 Aug 2020


  • Artisanal mining
  • Gold
  • Gold leaching
  • Small scale mining
  • Tailings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Chemical Engineering


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