Alternative Approach of Gold Extraction Using Modified Borax

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Federal university of Technology, Minna, NIGERIA

2 Department of Chemistry, Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Kogi State, NIGERIA


The extraction of gold in any part of the world is left in the hands of artisanal local miners who do this with the use of mercury which is considered to be a very hazardous chemical to humans and the biophysical environment. This research investigated the use of borax as a replacement for mercury in the extraction of gold from its ore. The sample used for the study was collected from Chanchaga mining site in Niger State. Calcination of the sulphide ore was done at a temperature
of 600 oC in order to oxidize the sulphur content of the ore. The Borax in its modified form was used as a metal flux in the extraction process and this was optimized through
Box-Behnken experimental design method using Design Expert 7.0 software. The effect of temperature, the mole ratio of heavy mineral concentrate to borax, and time were studied at 800 – 1000 oC, 0.8 – 3.5, and 15-30 min respectively. Sieve, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), and carat analysis of the samples were carried out. The percentage yield of gold extract was 70.2 % at 900 oC, 30 min, and 0.8 mole ratio of heavy mineral concentrate to modified borax. The sieve analysis shows that visible gold liberation was achieved between 0.3 and 0.15 mm, and the X-Ray Fluorescence showed 88.7 % extract gold purity with 22 carats. This method can be a replacement for the current toxic method of gold extraction using mercury.


Main Subjects

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