Activated Carbon for Gold Recovery

In choosing an activated carbon for use in gold recovery, the characteristics below are of key importance.

Adsorptive Capacity

Often called loading capacity, the adsorptive capacity of activated carbon refers to how much the activated carbon can adsorb. Adsorptive capacity is linked to the physical and chemical properties of the activated carbon.

Adsorption Rate

The rate of adsorption is also largely affected by both physical and chemical properties of the activated carbon.

Mechanical Strength and Wear Resistance/Hardness

Mechanical strength is important in reducing losses because of attrition. Attrition is the breakdown of material into fines. Not only does this result

in carbon loss, but it also causes a loss in recoverable gold.

Particle Size Distribution

Particle size distribution is another key factor in choosing an activated carbon for gold recovery, as it is largely linked to adsorption rate.

Coconut shell-based carbons are the most commonly selected type of activated carbon for gold recovery. This type of carbon boasts numerous

characteristics that make it ideal for use in gold recovery, including superior hardness and pore structure.


A major use of activated carbon in mining is in gold recovery, where granular activated carbon (GAC) is used for adsorption of the gold-cyanide.

Type of carbon Granular coconut shell activated carbon
Granulation 6×12 6×12 8×16 8×16
Apparent Density (kg/m³) 500 490 500 490
Ash content (wt.%) 3 3 3 3
CTC Adsorption (wt.%) 50 60 50 60
Plateles % 2 2 2 2
Hardness min 99 99 99 99
Gold adsorpting rate 1h % 55 60 55 60
Gold adsorptiong capacity 1h % 28 35 28 35

Advantage of coconut granular activated carbon:

  1. High rates of gold loading and elution
  2. Low platelet concentrations
  3. Very high surface area characterised by a large proportion of micropores
  4. High hardness with low dust generation,Good resistance to mechanical attrition
  5. Excellent purity, with most products exhibiting no more than 3-5% ash content.
  6. Renewable and green raw material.

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