Evaluation of Copper Slag Cleaning Potentials
Additonal authors: Mostaghel, Sina. 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
The current paper is focused on evaluating the behavior of copper in a copper production slag and the assessment of metal recovery possibilities. For this reason, thermodynamic calculations were carried out to determine the influence of parameters such as slag composition, temperature and oxygen partial pressure on recovery of non-ferrous elements. It was found that the formation of a solid face centered cubic (fcc) phase, mainly consisting of iron, limits the extent of reduction that can be achieved for an industrial process. However, it could be discovered that solubility of iron in the Cu-rich liquid alloy strongly depends on presence of other elements, particularly arsenic. As part of the results of this study, the solubility of Cu in the slag at onset of fcc phase formation is presented as function of temperature, oxygen partial pressure and concentration of MgO and CaO. It was concluded that lower temperature (1200°C) and higher CaO addition (16 mass-% in this study), would result in the highest achievable copper recovery from slag.
Copper slag is produced as a by-product of the copper production process. The slag is still containing a high amount of copper and other valuable metals. This demands further treatment of the slag as a secondary source of metals. In addition, the physical/mechanical properties of slag allow its use in several applications such as hydraulic engineering, civil engineering, as an abrasive and many more. These applications help reducing the use of natural resources like rock and sand. By decreasing the content of heavy metals such as Cu, Pb, Zn and As in the slag, its application in abovementioned fields becomes more attractive as the probability of releasing these elements to the environment is further reduced.
To develop a pyrometallurgical slag reduction process, it is necessary to understand what describes the end point of the reduction. This point is expected at maximum copper recovery without facing operational challenges. Existing literature provide some information on the effect of different parameters such as temperature or concentration of different slag formers, on solubility of copper and heavy metals in different phases. However, due to complexity of industrial slags, equilibrium experiments and accurate thermodynamic modelling are essential to be able to reliably predict the behavior of different elements in the system and determine the end-point of reduction.
Copper 2019, COM2019