Copper Leaching From Low Grade Copper Ores Using Alternative Leaching Systems

Additonal authors: Ahn, Junmo. 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

Wu, Jiajia

In this project, low grade copper ore samples were obtained from two mining sites in the US, and they were chalcopyrite-rich (sample A) and conichalcite-rich (sample B) ore. Copper grades were 0.6% and 0.4% for the two samples, A and B, respectively. Leaching experiments were conducted by bottle roll tests for 24 hours, and various lixiviant systems were applied. Methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and glycine were used as alternative lixiviants to sulfuric acid. Oxidants including ferric ion and hydrogen peroxide were tested. The results showed the copper extraction of sample A increased after adding 1 g/L ferric ion in sulfuric acid and MSA solution, from 20% to 36%, but further increase was not observed with higher ferric ion concentration. The copper recovery increased significantly with H2O2 concentration, and over 80% copper recovery was obtained with 10% H2O2. For sample B, the copper dissolution kinetics were relatively fast and reached the maximum value in five hours. Around 60% copper were extracted in sulfuric acid and MSA solution. Copper recovery slightly increased after adding ferric ion and H2O2. Glycine is a weaker lixiviant for both samples, the copper extractions were 36% and 4% respectively. INTRODUCTION Chalcopyrite is the most abundant copper sulfide mineral on earth, and it is one of the most refractory copper minerals regarding chemical processing. The declining copper grade and depletion of copper oxide deposits stimulate the development of hydrometallurgical process to extract copper from chalcopyrite. The dissolution of chalcopyrite by ferric ion is normally illustrated as Equation (1) and (2) (Dutrizac & MacDonald, 1974): CuFeS2 + 4Fe3+ → Cu2+ + 5Fe2+ + 2S0 (1) CuFeS2 + 4Fe3+ + 3O2 + 2H2O → Cu2+ + 5Fe2+ + 2H2SO4 (2) However, slow kinetics are usually observed from chalcopyrite leaching at ambient temperature and pressure. Researchers attribute the slow kinetics to passivation during chalcopyrite dissolution, and different passivation products are also proposed (Klauber, 2008). In recent years, many efforts have made to develop new methods to extract copper from chalcopyrite, such as utilizing bacteria or stronger oxidant (Zhao et al., 2015; Ruiz-Sánchez & Lapidus, 2017).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019