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extracting silver from galena

Posted by Mark & Linda Mahlum  
Re: extracting silver from galena
June 29, 2012 05:39PM
Hi everyone !

I guess some people here have never seen what happens when a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and nitric acid goes bang....

My really sincere advice is: never ever mix such dangerous chemicals. I worked in a company which had a process step where acidic peroxide solutions were used. And I know how people look like after accidents. Nitric acid is already very bad but adding hydrogen peroxide to it is calling for accidents. These solutions can spontanously start to boil and one drop of the liquid getting in the eyes means blindness. An experienced person may handle small amounts in a fume hood but using this for bulk treatment is a hazard. And also if you try to buy such amounts of nitric acid and or peroxide the secret services will come after you thinking you want to build explosives.

And then afterwards to have to get rid over a lot of contaminated liquid..... very expensive if you follow the regulations - shame on you if you do not.

Peter posts a lot of warnings - listen to him - he usually is right
Re: extracting silver from galena
June 29, 2012 06:37PM
If you mix fairly concentrated nitric acid with hydrogen peroxide then yes, you are asking for trouble. However, if you generate nitric acid in situ as I suggested from zirconium nitrate as I suggested then the nitric acid can be very dilute and yet still dissolve both lead and lead sulphide. Its one of the technique used in oifields that suffer from lead or lead sulphide scaling. The solutions are very dilute so that all of the scale is dissolved and the waste is then pumped up to the surface. Its a cheap and effective method.

avatar Re: extracting silver from galena
April 04, 2014 05:45PM
Hello Jkg,

What is the mineralogy of your ore? Normally you separate as many components before you smelt it, now that you have melted it all you essentially have a hell of a mess. There is no flux to separate Au and Ag you normally do the separation chemically with something like nitric acid. You could try dissolving your metallic portion in nitric acid and then precipitate the silver out as a chloride as discussed in this thread. As for the gold it should be in the residue which you will have to remelt with some lead oxide and flux to collect the gold. Then dissolve the button from that in nitric acid to get rid of the lead. Any moly should have either been dissolved in the first step or come out with the flux in the second step. Good luck, without knowing the mineralogy of the original I am not sure what will happen.
Re: extracting silver from galena
December 22, 2014 08:30PM
Can you email me the technique please. Does it work on Pyrite ore also ? Thank you.
avatar Re: extracting silver from galena
December 22, 2014 10:11PM
Assuming you are refering to extracting silver from galena this sort of thing is what you would do with very small quantities of mineral, it is not economical for large amounts. See a book on metallurgy for how best to treat large amounts of galena to recover the silver.
Re: extracting silver from galena
May 27, 2015 09:11AM
I wondered if you managed to assay some silver from galena in the end?

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