C.A. Young and T.S. Jordan

Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Montana Tech, Butte, MT 59701


Cyanide (CN-) is a toxic species that is found predominantly in industrial effluents generated by metallurgical operations. Cyanide's strong affinity for metals makes it favorable as an agent for metal finishing and treatment and as a lixivant for metal leaching, particularly gold. These technologies are environmentally sound but require safeguards to prevent accidental spills from contaminating soils as well as surface and ground waters. Various methods of cyanide remediation by separation and oxidation are therefore reviewed. Reaction mechanisms are given throughout. The methods are compared in regard to their effectiveness in treating various cyanide species: free cyanide, thiocyanate, weak-acid dissociables and strong-acid dissociables.


cyanide, metal-cyanide complex, thiocyanate, oxidation, separation

This paper is from the Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference on Hazardous Waste Research 1995, published in hard copy and on the Web by the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center.

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