Gold is a highly required material for a wide range of personal and industrial applications. The high demand for gold, together with the shortage of natural resources and high pollution potential of wastes generated during mining and ore processing activities led to search for alternative sources of gold. A possible source is represented by mine wastes resulting from the processing of polymetallic or sulfidic ores. The reprocessing of wastes and old tailings with moderate to low content of gold offers not only a business opportunity, but also enhances the quality of the surrounding environment, changes the land use and offers a wide range of socio-economic benefits. Cyanidation, the most widespread Au leaching option, is progressively abandoned due to the high risk associated with its use and to the low public acceptance. Therefore, alternative methods such as thiocyanate, thiourea, thiosulphate and halide leaching gained more and more interest. This chapter presents the most important features of some Au leaching methods, emphasizing their advantages, limitations and potential applications.
Part of the book: Strategies of Sustainable Solid Waste Management