Exploitation of gold in an historic sewage sludge stockpile, Werribee, Australia: resource evaluation, chemical extraction and subsequent utilisation sludge
Lottermoser, B.G. (2001) Exploitation of gold in an historic sewage sludge stockpile, Werribee, Australia: resource evaluation, chemical extraction and subsequent utilisation sludge. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 72 (1). pp. 73-75.
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Sewage sludges are potential targets for economic extraction of Au because of the documented Au content of sewage sludges worldwide, which are of the order of some ore deposits currently mined for Au. The sewage of Melbourne, Australia, was stockpiled in large, closed, lagoonal tanks from 1898 until 1980. Reeves, Plimer and Foster, 1999, have conducted, and published, an extensive and exhaustive study of the Werribee sewage reserves utilising RNAA, INAA, GFAAS, ICPMS, and FLAAS to determine 31 elements, including Au, Ag, Sb, As, Cd, Hg, Zn, Cu, and Pb. The study was initiated to determine Au, Ag and other metal variations in both space and time and to investigate the economics of chemical extraction of the precious metals. A total of 149 samples from over 50 hand-auger drillholes to a depth up to 4m were analysed from the stockpiles, with Au assays yielding remarkably consistent results. Average grades of 0.77 g/t Au and 18.8 g/t Ag have been documented for a measured resource of 770,000 m3. Laboratory-based extractive metallurgy of the Werribee sludges has demonstrated that Au, Ag, and Zn can be removed with relative ease by heap-leaching using modified conventional technology, albeit with prohibitive reagent consumption. The extraction of the precious metals also results in the variable removal of contaminant metals such as Cd, As, Sb, Hg and Cr which may render the sludges fit for sale as agricultural fertiliser, provided organic pollutants and pathogenic organisms are below governmental environmental protection limits.
|Item Type:||Article (Refereed Research - C1)|
|Keywords:||chemical extraction; exploitation; Werribee; gold sewage sludge|
|FoR Codes:||04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040201 Exploration Geochemistry @ 100%|
|SEO Codes:||84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8402 Primary Mining and Extraction Processes of Mineral Resources > 840205 Mining and Extraction of Precious (Noble) Metal Ores @ 100%|
|Deposited On:||04 Dec 2010 23:05|
|Last Modified:||18 Sep 2013 16:09|
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