Author ORCID Identifier

Ishmael Quaicoe: 0000-0002-1351-7784


Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector employs about 80% of the mining workforce but only contributes about 20-30% of Ghana’s gold production. The low gold production is linked to low recoveries associated with the activities because ofinadequate understanding of the chemical, mineralogical and metallurgical characteristics of the ores. This study examined the metallurgical characteristics of typical small-scale gold mining tailings to understand their grinding characteristics, gold deportment and cyanidation behaviour. The gold deportment results showed that 96.1% of the gold in the samples is free milling (can be leached directly with cyanide and recovered through carbon adsorption), whilst the remaining 3.9% of the gold in the samples is associated/locked up with other mineral phases (carbonates, sulphides, carbonaceous matter and quartz). The gold-by-size distribution also indicated that 73.1% of the gold is contained in coarser size fractions (+150 µm), 14.96% isfrom–150 µm to +75 µm size range, and 11.83% is contained in the finer size distribution (–75 µm). This suggests that incorporating a gravity recovery system during processing will be highly advantageous. The leaching kinetics results showed that gold recoveries achieved within 8, 16 and 24 h were 68, 73.8 and 76.4%, respectively. The corresponding total cyanide consumption rates after 8, 16 and 24 h of leaching were 550, 580 and 600 ppm, respectively. Generally, the gold recoveries and the cyanide consumption rates agree with industrial practices/results. Overall, the outcomes of the study support the view that some small-scale gold mining tailings are economically viable, and hence can be re-processed through efficient processes such as carbon-in-leach/carbon-in-pulp.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.