Characterisation of Small-Scale Gold Mining Tailings in the Western Region of Ghana

  • Alex Kwasi Saim University of Mines and Technology
  • Isaac Joseph Cobbinah
  • Gideon Mawuli Kobla Gbedemah
  • Zakiya Konda Nurudeen
  • Richard Kwasi Amankwah


On the average, small-scale miners are able to recover gold ranging from 20% to 70% of the total available gold by the conventional gravity separation methods only. As a result of this, tailings materials from small-scale gold mining (ASGM) operations contain significant amount of gold, and characterization of these materials would inform metallurgical decisions concerning reprocessing of the tailings from ASGM. In this study, size-by-size analysis, gold grade, gold deportment and cyanidation studies were carried out on ASGM tailings samples collected from five different locations (Asankragua, Bogoso, Prestea, Wassa-Akropong and Tarkwa) in the Western Region of Ghana. Head grades of tailings samples from Asankragwa, Bogoso, Prestea, Wassa-Akropong and Tarkwa were 1.84 g/t, 4.12 g/t, 0.45g /t, 0.17 g/t and 5.97 g/t, respectively. Averagely, 80% of the tailings materials passed through the 1.52 mm screen size. Also, the gold deportment analysis revealed that the highest metal distribution, 42.03% was recorded in -106 µm size fraction for samples from Bogoso, followed by 31.0% for Wassa-Akropong, 29.7% for Tarkwa, 27.0% for Prestea and 22.0% for Asankragua. It is shown after cyanidation test works that the highest gold recovery was 81.5%, 72.3%, 75.3%, 65.6%, and 38.5% for samples from Wassa-Akropong, Asankragwa, Prestea, Tarkwa and Bogoso, respectively. Cyanidation can thus be employed towards resource optimization in ASGM.

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