Carbonaceous matter in refractory gold ore is known to be one of the primary causes of gold recovery loss. Model experiments were conducted to simulate the bio-modification of carbonaceous matter using powdered activated carbon (PAC) as a surrogate and cell-free spent medium (CFSM) of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. The CFSM was used because of the lignin peroxidase and manganese peroxidase secreted by the microbe during its incubation. In the present work, an investigation was conducted to determine the physical and chemical alterations in PAC after enzymatic treatment and its effect on Au(CN)2− uptake. Characterization of the solid residues of PAC by 13C NMR and N2 adsorption after bio-modification revealed that the treatment had decomposed poly-aromatic carbons into aliphatic carbons and also reduced the specific surface area from 1430 m2/g to 697 m2/g in 14 days. As a result, Au(CN)2− uptake decreased from 100% (0.048 mmol/g) to 43% within 12 h primarily due to the enzyme treatment and adsorption of CFSM components. It further decreased to 26% due to surface passivation by bio-chemicals derived from CFSM and/or decomposed aliphatic hydrocarbons from aromatic carbons between 7 days and 14 days. These findings may contribute to efforts to decrease preg-robbing in hydrometallurgical processing of refractory gold ores.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry