2013 – ALTA 2013, Perth, WA
More and more gold plants around the world are being required by law to destroy cyanide in
tailings. This paper evaluates the options and what influences the process selection for cyanide
destruction and recovery. The cost effectiveness, comparison of common detoxification methods
with advantages and disadvantages are explored. This paper also looks at the safety and hazards
of cyanide and explores various cyanide degradation methods so as to make it safe to people and
the environment upon disposal.
Fundamental aspects of the International Code for Cyanide Management are covered, and
highlighted are references to all major Australian bodies who are consulting on the management of cyanide.
Case studies are examined so as to illustrate major hazards and mitigations that may
occur and be implemented in gold processing operations.
The various environmental issues pertaining to the usage of cyanide, including the effects on
wildlife, monitoring procedures and strategies undertaken to prevent and control any risks due to
exposure to the environment will be discussed. Treatment procedures, and methods, for cyanide
poisoning are also briefly covered as well as standard transport and storage procedures for the
handling of cyanide.