The long-term operating characteristics of ion-exchange resins suitable for the hydrometallurgical recovery of precious metals remain largely unknown. This study examines some physicochemical properties of two promising ion-exchange resins for gold, SR-3 and PAZ-8, when subjected to experimental conditions similar to those of a typical alkaline-chlorination gold recovery process. It is shown that the degradation behavior may be related to both the micro- and macrostructural properties of the resins. Severe resin degradation occurs on pro-longed, agitated contact of the SR-3 resin beads with hypochlorite solutions at ambient tem-perature; the low cross linkage of the resin facilitates mechanical damage, while chemical degradation occurs by dehydration, oxidative scission of the functional groups, and breakdown of the polymer matrix. The PAZ-8 resin is highly cross linked and is more resistant to both mechanical and chemical attack under similar conditions.
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