Extract gold with cornstarch | Ecological method
Widely used in cooking, cornstarch has become an ecological solution for extracting gold. This new technique is less dangerous for the environment and for mine workers.
Researchers at Northwester University have discovered that corn starch is just as effective as cyanide or mercury in extracting gold.
Fortunately, a post-doctoral researcher Zhichang Liu wanted to mix two aqueous solutions. he had mixed a corn starch derivative with dissolved gold salt. Indeed, the first test tube contained a kind of sugar “alpha-cyclodextrin”, which resulted from the degradation of starch with bacteria. And there was another test tube filled with gold.
Surprise, tiny needles have formed. Zhichang was saddened because he hoped to see small cubic structures, capable of storing gases or other molecules.
.”At first, I was disappointed that my experience did not produce cubes, but when I saw the needles, I wanted to learn more about their composition,” said researcher Zhichang Liu in a statement released by his university. . This study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
“Zhichang fell on the magic formula to isolate gold from anything else in an ecological way”, estimates Fraser Stoddart who supervised the research.
Going from sadness to joy, researcher Liu had just found the miracle and ecological formula for extracting gold. These needles are an assembly of 4000 nanowires of gold ions, trapped by atoms, water and cyclodextrin.
In addition, the researchers used this technique on another mixture containing platinum or palladium. The sugar molecules succeeded in extracting 78% of gold and metal. They work to purify gold with small pearls containing zinc, gold, copper or silver.
This process is based on a leaching process carried out in two stages:
1) Replacement of cyanide by cornstarch
This starch derivative extracts gold from the ore in a more ecological way. Cyanide is replaced by using starch from corn to extract heavy metal.
2) Use this technique to dissociate the precious metal from electronic waste.
This magic technique is very effective in separating precious metal from electronic waste.
The benefits of cornstarch
- inexpensive product
- affordable product
- it is a food compound
- not dangerous for humans
- biodegradable in nature
- ecological means
- relies on a non-toxic and inexpensive starch derivative
- dissociates precious metal from electronic waste
- replaces cyanide with cornstarch
Professor Fraser Stoddart of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences explains:
“We have replaced harmful reagents (cyanide salts) with an inexpensive and environmentally friendly material. ”
This is good news for the planet since it made a 1/3-ounce 18-carat cycle result in at least 20 tonnes of waste and 13 pounds of toxic emissions, according to data collected by Mother Jones. In addition, these emissions contain 5.5 pounds of lead, 3 pounds of arsenic, almost 2 ounces of mercury and 1 ounce of cyanide, a solution that is mostly used in laboratories. But researchers are working to intensify the process for industrial use. With any luck, we may have found the Holy Grail of the gold industry.
This new technique is a real blessing for the environment, the miners and the population.