The Behavior of Arsenic under Medium Temperature Oxidation

Additonal authors: . 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

Seaman, R. T.

There are several hydrometallurgical alternative processing options under development for high enargite and arsenic containing copper concentrates ranging from biological, atmospheric, medium temperature oxidation to total oxidative leaching. The most developed of these options is the CESL process boasting pilot campaigns totaling more than 8760 hours of fully integrated continuous operation, as well as, over two thousand batch scale oxidation tests performed on dozens of concentrates for flowsheet development. This paper reports the observed deportment of arsenic under varying arsenic, iron and acid oxidation conditions; it also describes the impact of iron to arsenic ratios and residue recycle on overall arsenic behavior and its stability in residue. INTRODUCTION The CESL Hydrometallurgical Process (CESL) was originally developed to compete with smelting of clean chalcopyrite concentrates. High Treatment Charges and Refining Charges (TC/RCs) combined with premiums on London Metal Exchange (LME) grade copper from onsite refining made treatment of copper concentrates using CESL a viable option at the time. As world demand for copper increased and a subsidized Chinese refining market developed, smelting contracts became more favourable for the miner and focus was placed on modifying the CESL Hydrometallurgical Process to handle concentrates with elevated deleterious elements. Dozens of pilot campaigns processing concentrates containing elevated concentrations of uranium, fluoride, mercury and nickel all led to further developments of the CESL Hydrometallurgical Process. In 2016 a United States patent was granted for a novel modification of the CESL Hydrometallurgical Process for recovery of copper from arsenic-bearing and/or antimony-bearing copper sulphide concentrates, Henry Salomon de Friedberg (2016). To date, over 2000 bench scale tests along with five fully integrated closed loop pilot campaigns, totaling over a year of online operation time, have been conducted processing arsenic bearing copper concentrates. This paper summarizes the observed behavior of arsenic under varying autoclave and process conditions.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019