Design and Optimisation of a New Hydrometallurgical Processing Route for Copper Recycling Using Process Simulation

Additonal authors: Durance, M. V.. 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

de Ville d’Avray, A.

The aim of the European CEReS project was to develop an innovative copper recycling route based on the coprocessing of coal production waste by bioleaching and printed circuit boards (PCBs) from Wastes of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Coal waste is processed by bioleaching in stirred tank reactors, and the resulting bio-lixiviant solution is used to extract copper from PCBs pre-treated by catalytic cracking. Copper is then extracted using solvent extraction, stripping and electrowinning. The whole process flowsheet combines thermal, biotechnological, physical and hydrometallurgical operations. Once the process concept has been validated at laboratory scale, a simulator of the whole process has been built in the USIM PAC software platform. The tool enables to improve the analysis of the results of the lab-scale experiments and to design industrial-scale scenarios by simulation. The results of such simulations allow to estimate the economical interest and to perform environmental impact assessment. After presentation of the CEReS project objectives and main results, the paper describes the methodology used to build the simulator and define the scenarios corresponding to feasible process routes. The main results of the simulations are then presented with technical, economic and environmental point of views. INTRODUCTION Because of rapid technological innovations in the electronics industry, electronic waste represents the fastest growing waste stream in the world, especially in developing countries (Işildar et al., 2018). Meanwhile, the global copper demand is expected to go on rising in the future. As significant amounts of copper are present in end-of-life printed circuit boards (PCBs), it becomes a necessity to develop efficient copper recycling routes. Metal refining from e-waste is traditionally performed by pyrometallurgical processes. However, the hydrometallurgical processing of PCBs, which has been shown to be technically feasible at laboratory scale with a wide range of leaching reagents, could be a less energy intensive and more flexible alternative (Tuncuk et al., 2012). However, a large amount of leaching reagent is required to leach the metals from PCBs.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019