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Information @ Glance


  • Sodium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCN. It is an inorganic salt derived from neutralization reactions involving the weak acid hydrogen cyanide.
  • Sodium Cyanide is a white powder (like salt) with a faint almond-like odor.
  • Sodium cyanide consists of a positively charged sodium cation (Na+) and a negatively charged cyanide anion (CN-). The cyanide ion contains a carbon atom that is triply bound to a nitrogen atom.


  • Sodium cyanide is prepared by the direct reaction of hydrogen cyanide with alkali, by melting sodium chloride with calcium cyanamide, or by heating sodium amide with carbon.
  • The hydrogen cyanide gas is then reacted with sodium hydroxide to form liquid sodium cyanide with a solution strength of approximately 30 per cent w/w. Sodium cyanide can be transported as a liquid, or dehydrated to form crystals. After dehydration these crystals are compacted into one of three solid forms; powder, granules or briquettes and is then packaged before transportation.
  • Sodium cyanide is manufactured by the Andrussow process using ammonia, air, methane and caustic soda.
  • Sodium cyanide (NaCN) is produced when hydrocyanic acid is neutralized with aqueous sodium hydroxide,producing a slurry. The slurry is crystallized, and the NaCN solids are separated, dried, and prepared for shipping (Brown).


  • Sodium cyanide is mainly used to extract gold and other precious metals in mining. This application exploits the high affinity of gold(I) for cyanide, which induces gold metal to oxidize and dissolve in the presence of air and water.
  • Sodium cyanide is used in the manufacturing of organic chemicals; acrylonitrile, metal polishes, dyes, rodenticides, pesticides, synthetic fibers, plastics, and electroplating solutions.
  • Sodium cyanide (NaCN) ejectors have been important in coyote depredation control.
  • Sodium cyanide is a single dose poison used in the M-44 ejector device on pastures, range and forest land to control coyote, red fox, gray fox and wild dog populations that prey upon (or are likely to prey upon) livestock, poultry or endangered species, or that are vectors of communicable diseases.


  • The use of sodium cyanide in the M-44 device is currently registered in only twelve states (Arizona,California, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming).
  • Australia is a major global manufacturer and exporter of sodium cyanide, with manufacturing facilities in western Australia . About 100 000 tones of sodium cyanide are manufactured each year, of which about 40%-60% is exported.
  • Rosia Montana Project activities require the use and storage of chemicals, including sodium cyanide, that are defined as dangerous substances under European Commission Directive  (1996).
  • Sodium cyanide is manufactured at the Orica Australia Limited (Orica) Yarwun manufacturing facility in Queensland, which has been operating since 1989.

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