Metal Recovery and Reducing of Environmental Loading of Copper Mine Tailings by High Pressure Leaching and SX-EW Process

Additonal authors: Godirilwe, L.. 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

Haga, K.

Pyrite (FeS2) and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) which could not be recovered, are present in mine tailings discharged from Bor copper mine. About 0.3% of copper (Cu) is contained in these tailings, therefore it can be considered as a useful copper resource. At the same time, pyrite is known to promote acid mine drainage, therefore it is necessary to detoxify the tailings. An efficient method has been proposed to recover copper and reduce the environmental impacts of tailings by a combined hydrometallurgical process of high pressure leaching (HPL), solvent extraction (SX) and electrowinning (EW) process. HPL process yielded high copper leaching rate (>95%) when water (H2O) was used as a leaching media. On the other hand, pyrite contained in the tailings was converted to iron oxide by high pressure leaching. Stability evaluation of the residue obtained from high pressure leaching, confirmed almost no elution of metal ions. The percentage of copper extracted and stripped from the Cu-loaded organic phase reached 97.4%. Moreover, it was confirmed that a low iron concentration in the electrolyte of copper electrowinning, resulted in the improvement of current efficiency of copper electrodeposition. INTRODUCTION Mine tailings are a by-product obtained from the flotation process and there are billions of tons of already existing tailings all over the world. Moreover, several billion tons of additional copper tailings will inevitably be produced in the coming years (Onuaguluchi & Eren, 2012). With the declining average copper ore grade, alternative sources of copper are highly sought, mine tailings have a comparable copper grade to that of low-grade ores (0.2–0.3%) therefore, it can be said that copper mine tailings present a very important source of secondary raw material for copper production (Antonijevi´c et. al., 2008). Consequently, it is necessary to confirm the possibility of the valuable metals (such as copper) recovery from mine tailing in which copper content is about 0.2–0.3%. Our group investigates the flotation and high pressure leaching processes for recovering of copper from mine tailings. Previous work on related samples include copper and nickel flotation tailings from Botswana, and a low–grade copper ore sample from Chile. Impurities, which are associated metals in mine tailing such as iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) co-dissolve into the solution during the HPL treatment process. Therefore, separation of copper from impurities is necessary for selective extraction of copper from mine tailings and upgrading the copper concentration in the leachate to enable further purifying of Cu by electrowinning. Thus, it is important to investigate the possibility of applying solvent extraction for concentration of copper from leachate solutions of mine tailings (Onuaguluchi & Eren, 2012; Antonijevi´c et. al., 2008). In this study, LIX-84I was used as an extractant of copper from the leachate of high pressure leaching of mine tailing. As a fundamental solvent extraction investigation, the extraction behavior of copper was studied using a simulated solution of the leachate from the high-pressure oxidative leaching of mine tailing. The effects of; solution pH, extraction time, extractant concentration and phase ratio on copper extraction and sulfuric acid (H2SO4) concentration on stripping were investigated.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019