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Activated Carbon Spotlighted at Go for Gold Conference

by Adenike Adeodun

The ‘Go For Gold Conference’ in Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City illuminated groundbreaking enhancements in gold recovery, spotlighting the instrumental role of activated carbon. Industry mavens convened, unraveling the intricacies of utilizing activated carbon, derived predominantly from coconut shells, for optimized gold beneficiation.

Activated carbon, renowned for its absorption prowess and renewability, emerges as the linchpin in extracting the gold cyanide complex, a revelation underscored at the conference. The procedure entails integrating a cyanide solution after the ore’s pulverization, liberating gold, and enabling its absorption by the activated carbon. Subsequently, gold extraction from the carbon employs ethanol.

Pierre-Eric Blanc, presiding as Jacobi’s global gold recovery applications manager, alongside VP of manufacturing, Mark Cutten, delved into the coconut shell supply chain’s convolutions. With South Africa’s gold mining sector consuming 3,000 tons annually of Jacobi’s coconut-based activated carbon, the discourse naturally veered towards supply logistics.

“The bulk of our coconut shells originate from Southeast Asia, accounting for 70% of production expenses,” Blanc disclosed, addressing queries regarding potential African sources. The region’s dearth of coconut cultivation coupled with limited local ancillary industries curbs sourcing feasibility.

Mining Weekly reported that Bonginkosi Khoza of UDEC highlighted acid washing’s significance, bridging theoretical postulates with on-ground applications. UDEC’s repertoire extends across a spectrum of activated carbon derivatives, encompassing granular, powdered, and extruded variants.

Watercare Mining’s Brentton Fossati unveiled burgeoning gold recovery technologies, while Multotec’s Francois Fouché imparted wisdom regarding interstage screens in carbon circuits. Maelgwyn’s Sonestie Janse van Rensburg emphasized laboratory assessments’ criticality in bolstering operational outcomes.

The conference tableau was enriched by case studies exemplifying proficient gold recovery practices, notably Harmony Gold’s Doornkloof plant and Pan African Resources’ Elikhulu plant, each registering sub-0.003 ppm solution losses.

With activated carbon at the forefront, the symposium heralded a new chapter in gold recovery, marrying technological innovation with practical efficiency.

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