Effect of CaO and Al2O3 on the Liquidus Lines of the CU2O-Fe2O3-SiO2 System in Equilibrium with Metallic Copper

Additonal authors: Kohnenkamp, E.. 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

Henao, H.

The slags generated in the copper conversion process are mainly composed of Cu2O-Fe2O3-SiO2 with the compounds CaO and Al2O3 in concentrations up to 10 wt%. The present work contributes to the knowledge of the conversion process, generating experimental data for the diagrams of phases Cu2O-Fe2O3- SiO2-Al2O3 and Cu2O-Fe2O3-SiO2-CaO. The experiments were carried out in a tubular furnace at temperatures of 1150°C and 1200°C under a condition of saturation with tridymite. Once the equilibrium was reached, the samples were fast quenched in water. The phases in the samples were observed in a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the elemental composition of the phases analyzed by means of Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) detectors. The addition of Al2O3 and CaO into the Cu2O-Fe2O3- SiO2 system resulted in an appreciable displacement of the liquidus lines, corresponding to an expansion of the liquid in the tridymite primary phase field. INTRODUCTION The conversion process of copper consists of oxidizing Fe and S present in mattes with 60 to 65wt% Cu (up to 16wt% Fe). This process is separated into two stages: 1- Slag blowing: Fe is oxidized, the addition of a flux such as SiO2 (silica) forms a second liquid phase called slag, this phase is removed from the furnace; 2-Copper blowing: in this stage, the matte with low concentration of Fe (<1% w/w) is again oxidized to remove S as SO2 in the exhaust gases. The product of these two processes is the formation of Copper Blister (> 98wt% Cu) (Schlesinger et al., 2011). Unlike the aforementioned conventional processes, in most Chilean smelters, conversion Peirce- Smith Furnaces are loaded with high copper matte (70–75wt% Cu) (Henao & Moyano, 2016). Due to the low concentration of iron in these matte (up to 5wt%), it is considered that separating the conversion process in two stages is neither operational nor environmentally convenient. Therefore, the process is carried out in a single stage (Pradena et al., 2006), generating a slag phase with a high percentage of Cu2O (wt%Cu>40).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019