Practice of Biohydrometallurgy in Zijin Copper Mine of China

Additonal authors: Guo, X. J.. 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

Li, H. X.

The biological heap leaching at Zijin copper mine is currently the largest industrial application of biohydrometallurgy and one of the earliest mines to develop biological metallurgy technology in China. Since 2001, through demonstration plant and different expansion stages, it has been developed to produce 20,000 tons cathode copper annually. However the ore grade of heap leaching gradually decline year by year with copper grade average at around 0.23% now. The copper mineral is mainly the secondary copper sulfide, and symbiosis with higher content pyrite, the sulfur and iron contents is about 15 times as copper in the ore (S/Cu>15), so the acid and iron treatment of leachate, extractant and acid mine waste water is a great challenge. Combined with located in the rainy area of southern China, huge amounts of over 10 million cubic meters acid drainage need to be treated every year, so the recovery of copper from waste water as well as low grade ore is one of the characteristics of this process. This paper in general introduced the operation of heap leaching, solvent extraction, stripping and electrowinning process in Zijin mine, summarized the experience of production and technical practice, and discussed the methods of heap construction, leaching rate enhancement, third phase formation and treatment, mine effluent treatment, resource recovery and heap slope reclamation. INTRODUCTION The Zijinshan gold and copper mine is located in southeast China, Fujian province, and the typical distribution characteristics of gold and copper deposit are "upper gold and lower copper", both are large porphyry deposits. By the end of 2017, the accumulated proven reserves of available gold resources were 318 tons, copper are 2.15 million tons, and the prospective reserves of copper are more than 5 million tons. The gold mining is open pit while the copper mining is open pit and underground. The cut-off grade of gold mining is 0.15 g/t, and that of copper mining is 0.15%. A large number of very low-grade gold ores (grade <0.30 g/t) adopt a combined ore-dressing process of “partial crushing/ore washing/reprocessing/heap leaching (overlying)/ carbon slurry" independently developed, while flotation and bio-heap leaching are adopted for copper mine. Among them, copper ore with more than 0.25% copper content enters the flotation system to produce copper concentrate, while that of less than 0.25% copper content is processed by bio-heap leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning. Zijin biological heap leaching plant is the first mine in China to achieve the scale of annual output of ten thousand tons of cathode copper since 2006. In 2008, the solvent extraction and electrowinning system were expanded, now with a daily processing capacity of 20,000 tons of ores, an annual output of 20,000 tons of cathode copper, the expanded plant is the largest biohydrometallurgy plant in China.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019