Enhanced Leaching Of Chalcopyrite in Ferric Sulfate Media by the Presence of Iodide/Iodine

Additonal authors: Dreisinger, D. B.. 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

Winarko, R.

Chalcopyrite leaching in acidic ferric sulfate media at ambient temperature exhibits slow kinetics and poor leaching efficiency, which is typically attributed to surface passivation. Recently, the presence of small amounts of iodide in the leaching media has been reported to significantly accelerate chalcopyrite dissolution. To further explore the behavior of chalcopyrite leaching in the presence of iodide, it is essential to determine the factors that control the leaching kinetics. In this study, we investigated the effect of initial solution potential, iodide concentration, particle size, and temperature on the kinetics of copper extraction from chalcopyrite. The key in the experimental setup was to minimize iodide loss by iodine evaporation and precipitation as cuprous iodide. The former was achieved by performing the leaching tests in fully sealed leaching systems. The latter was achieved by maintaining the solution potential higher than 420 mV (versus Ag/AgCl electrode), where formation of CuI precipitate is possible. The experimental results show that higher solution potential and higher iodide concentration had a pronounced positive effect on the rate of chalcopyrite dissolution. There was no effect associated with particle size, which might be due to the narrow size range tested. The positive effect of increasing temperature only manifested itself when the solution potential was sufficiently high. INTRODUCTION The main challenge of chalcopyrite leaching using ferric ions as the oxidant at ambient temperature is the slow kinetics and poor extraction. The reason for this leaching behavior has been attributed to passivation resulting from formation of insoluble passivating layers on chalcopyrite surfaces, which could be metal-deficient sulfides, elemental sulfur, polysulfides, and iron precipitates (Klauber, 2008). To overcome passivation, technologies using higher temperature and pressure have been developed to leach chalcopyrite concentrates, such as the CESL process (Mayhew, McCoy, Mean, & Woeller, 2013), FLSmidth Rapid Oxidative Leach (ROL) process (Mulligan et al., 2017), Galvanox (Dixon, Mayne, & Baxter, 2008), Albion process (Hourn, Turner, & Hourn, 2012), HydroCopper (Hyvärinen & Hämäläinen, 2005), TPOX (Dreisinger, 2006), and AAC/UBC process (Dreisinger, Dempsey, Steyl, Sole, & Gnoinski, 2003). Even though they are effective in accelerating copper leaching kinetics, those technologies typically have higher capital and operating costs associated with production of concentrates and application of autoclaves. This makes them unsuitable for treating low grade primary copper sulfide ores.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019