The Distribution of Ni Between Slag and Copper Metal in Copper Fire Refining Conditions

Additonal authors: Guo, M.. 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

Van den Bulck, A.

The feed stock of copper fire refining processes consists of two major constituents: blister copper and high-Cu secondary scrap. A large fraction of this secondary scrap, originating from urban mining, is quite high in impurities such as Fe, Ni, Pb and Sn. Problems arise in electro-refining when these elements exceed certain limits. As a consequence, transformation of the secondary copper raw materials into high grade copper has become troublesome. However, the behavior of impurities relevant to fire refining conditions, essential for anode refineries, has not been studied in detail. Furthermore, limited research has been performed on the distribution of Ni between copper metal and slag. In this study, equilibration at 1300°C of liquid Cu-1wt.% Ni alloy and CaO-CuOx- FeOy-SiO2 slag in vacuum sealed quartz ampoules was performed for 12 hours, followed by water quenching. Electron Probe X-ray Microanalysis was employed to investigate the composition of the equilibrated alloy and slag. The distribution coefficients of Ni between slag and alloy were determined as a function of oxygen partial pressure and CaO concentration. INTRODUCTION Europe’s initiatives for a circular economy, pushing for resource-efficient ways for a sustainable future, puts Europe at the forefront of the globe. In Europe, 50% of the copper originates from recycling, being an excellent example of Europe’s circular economy (Juncker, 2018; Lacasse, 2018). High-grade copper recyclates are made available which regularly contain impurities like Fe, Ni, Sn and Pb. Aurubis Belgium is responsible for recycling these types of recyclates to anodes, cathodes and copper products. However, after fire refining of copper, the aforementioned impurities remain in the anode copper, leading to problems in electrorefining. During the fire refining of copper, a CaO-“Cu2O”-“Fe2O3”-SiO2 slag is used. Fundamental information of the distribution of impurities between the copper and this slag system is therefore essential to understand and improve the copper fire refining process at Aurubis Belgium.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019