Experiments were conducted to test removal of cyanide (free cyanide and several cyanide complexes) in water, under alkaline medium (pH > or = 11), by a new potassium ferrate salt. The removal rate of free cyanide by oxidation with Fe(VI) was greater at pH 11.0 than at pH 12.0. A complete oxidation was obtained with a 2.67 Fe(VI)/CN ratio at pH 11.0. In these conditions, the rate of cyanide oxidation by Fe(VI) was slow, with a reaction rate constant estimated at 0.95 +/- 0.10 s(-1) l mol(-1) at pH 11.0 and 19.6 degrees C in this study. This study revealed that Fe(VI) did not decompose all cyanide complexes. Copper, cadmium and zinc complexes were removed efficiently by Fe(VI). Moreover, these metals were also removed from the solution by coagulation effect of Fe(OH)3, the Fe(VI) product of reaction. A particular behaviour was reported with copper, as a rapid oxidation of cyanide was observed in the presence of this metal. On the contrary, oxidation of nickel and silver complexes was incomplete.