A method of removing mercury adsorbed onto activated carbon is provided. The method includes treating an adsorbed mixture of metal cyanide complexes on a carbon substrate with an acidic solution of a stripping agent that is a weak acid. The method also eliminates inorganic scalants from the carbon substrate. In precious metal mining operations, the disclosed method reduces environmental emissions of mercury during the gold elution and carbon reactivation processes.
GOVERNMENT LICENSE RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under contract DE-FC26-02NT41607 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.