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Gold is a very rare element that is considered to be one of the most precious metals. It has unique properties such as malleability and ductility which allow it to be drawn into thin wires and made into sheets. This makes it perfect for jewelry and other ornamental uses. Gold is also one of the least reactive elements with only 2 different oxidation states, (I) called Auric and (III) called Aurum which give it unique chemistry.
The most common form of gold is in the elemental state as free gold or as a gold-silver alloy. It can also be found in minerals such as pyrite, chalcopyrite and pentlandite as sulfide compounds. Gold is also a noble metal, meaning that it does not react with other elements except when combined with silver as a gold-silver alloy or tellurium as a gold-tellurium alloy.
Using predictive simulation and life cycle models, Metso Outotec has evaluated the cradle-to-gate impact of recovering cobalt sulfate from complex copper and gold concentrates. It was found that the key factors in determining the overall footprint of the process, other than the main cobalt and gold mineralogies, were side reactions and other mineral and precipitate behaviors. This information was used to select the best processing routes for further investigations.