Comparison of Chalcocite Leaching In Ferric Chloride and Cupric Chloride Media

Additonal authors: Liu, W.. 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

Hashemzadeh, M.

The efficiency of water use is a top priority for the global minerals industry, especially in regions with limited freshwater supplies. In these areas, the freshwater shortage has prompted mining companies to search for alternatives to freshwater sources. Seawater has been proven to be a potential water source for mineral beneficiation and metal extraction processes. This study compares chalcocite leaching behavior with ferric chloride to that with cupric chloride. We carried out leaching tests with a highly pure chalcocite sample in jacketed reactors under fully controlled pH and solution potential. The effect of chloride concentration, oxidant concentration, and temperature on copper extraction was quantified in both cupric and ferric chloride systems. In the ferric chloride system, increasing ferric concentration showed a positive effect on the first stage of chalcocite leaching. In the second stage, increasing temperature markedly enhanced copper extraction. In the cupric chloride system, chloride concentration presented a considerable effect on both the first and second stages of leaching, while temperature had a remarkable effect only on the second stage. The findings of this study would be beneficial to mine operations aiming to replace fresh water with seawater for heap leaching of chalcocite. INTRODUCTION Mineral processing operations/plants are normally operated adjacent to mines which are often located in remote and arid area, such as northern Chile, southern Peru and Australia with limited access to fresh water (Liu, Moran, & Vink, 2011, 2013). Water scarcity in these areas has prompted mining companies to invest in sustainable technologies to reduce the water use and/or increase the water use efficiency. One of the current sustainable approaches in mineral processing operations is to replace fresh water with seawater. Seawater is now being increasingly used for mineral beneficiation and metal extraction processes (Hernández et al., 2015). Another application of seawater could be for heap leaching of copper secondary sulfides, mainly chalcocite. However, the high concentration of chloride ion in seawater may significantly affect leaching kinetics of copper sulfide concentrates and ores (Watling et al., 2014). Therefore, it is essential to develop a fundamental understanding of the leaching of chalcocite in chloride media.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019