Study of the Use of Flotation Tails as Flux in the Process of Smelting Copper Concentrates

Additonal authors: Canales, F.. 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 present work evaluated the use of copper ore flotation tails as flux in the process of smelting copper concentrates. For this purpose, experimental and simulated liquidus lines were obtained at different ratios of tail/flux. Experimental variables included temperature, partial pressure of oxygen and sulfur dioxide and the conditions of tridymite or spinel saturation. The results indicate the feasibility of replacing the flux by increasing the temperature of the smelting process by 20°C. Results of simulation using FactSage and HSC confirm that the required increase in temperature can be achieved by increasing the flow of concentrate, enrichment of oxygen or increasing the matte grade. INTRODUCTION In the pyro-metallurgical process of copper production, the smelting stage produces two liquid phases, a sulphide phase rich in copper and another composed mainly of oxides called slag. The slag phase is the product of oxidation of the iron contained in the flotation concentrate. The smelting process which is carried out at temperatures of 1250°C, require the addition of silica as a flux and the injection of air enriched in oxygen (Schlesinger 2011). Currently, one of the most important aspects of the mining industry is the minimization of costs, the optimization of the use of available resources and the reduction of environmental impact. Under this context, the use of flotation tails from as a flux in the copper smelting process has the potential of reduced production costs and generate an environmental benefit by reduce the disposal amount of this waste material Regarding the use of copper tails as flux in the copper smelting process, a thermodynamic simulation study using the FactSage software had been reported in the literature (Parra et al., 2011). The results indicated an increase of 35°C in the temperature the liquidus for the equilibrium matte/spinel and a subsequent requirement of energy in the process of approximately 350 [MJ/ton slag]. Given that the calculated viscosity remains in the same order of magnitude, the melting temperature is a more relevant parameter for the evaluation of the use of tailings as flux.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019