Behaviour of Mo and Ir in Copper Matte Smelting

Additonal authors: Klemettinen, Lassi. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Sukhomlinov, Dmitry

The solubilities and distributions of molybdenum and iridium in iron silicate slag and copper-iron mattes were studied using an equilibration-quenching technique and subsequent direct phase composition analyses by EPMA (Electron Probe X-ray Microanalysis) and LA-ICP-MS (Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry). The equilibrations were carried out on a wide matte grade interval, ranging from 55 wt-% Cu to 75 wt-% Cu, in pSO2 = 0.1 atm at 1300°C. The results in equilibrium with a solid iridium-molybdenum alloy indicated an iridium solubility of 150–500 ppmw in the sulphide matte, depending on the matte grade, and a molybdenum solubility of 100–600 ppmw. Iridium was distributing predominantly in the sulphide matte with the distribution coefficient of 10+3 - +4 but molybdenum deported predominantly in the slag with Lm/s(Mo) = 0.02–0.1. The effects of alumina and lime additions in the smelting slag were also examined. INTRODUCTION Iridium is a highly siderophile element (HSE), which means that it is incompatible with the sulphide forming elements and possesses a small solubility in mattes, such as copper- and nickel-iron sulphide melts. Molybdenum behaves only modestly in that way (Walker & Li, 2008; Righter et al., 2017). They both are known to be trace elements accompanying copper and nickel sulphide ores. No solubility data, however, are available for them in copper-rich sulphide mattes. Geochemical data on the behaviour of Ir and Mo deal mostly with low-iron silicate systems, e.g. basaltic melts, and high-sulphur sulphide solutions and mattes (Ertel et al., 2008; Fonseca et al., 2007). They also indicate that Ir and Mo dissolve in silicate melts primarily as oxides and not as electrically neutral metal species. Most geological data of iridium focus on high-sulphur systems of the monosulphide composition and typically Fe-Ni mattes where copper is a trace element (Fleet et al., 1996; Sattari et al., 2002). Direct solubility measurements for mattes and iron-lean silicates have also been made using pure Ir or an Ir alloy as the saturation phase (Borisov & Palme, 2000; O’Neill & Eggins, 2002; Makovicky & Karup-Møller, 1999; Ertel et al., 2008; Mungall & Brenan, 2014). A recent summary about the solubilities of HSE’s in iron- and sulphur free silicates is available in Laurenz (2012). The thermodynamics of molybdenum partitioning between oxides and Fe-S-O melts was studied by Mengason et al. (2011). Their results indicate strong accumulation in the iron-rich sulphide in reducing conditions (pO2 = 10-9.6 atm in Ni-NiO equilibrium at 1050°C). Molybdenum dissolves in iron-lean silicate melts as MoO3 species in oxygen pressures above the Fe-FeO equilibrium and as MoO2 in more reducing conditions (Farges et al., 2006; Righter et al., 2017).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019