Catalytic Heap Leaching of Chalcopyrite Ores Using Jetti’s Technology

Additonal authors: Zarate, G.. 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

Rebolledo, M.

For decades, the mining industry has been focussed to find an efficient and economically attractive process for the leaching of chalcopyrite. Jetti Resources has developed a novel hydrometallurgical alternative to extract metals of value from mineral ores that the mining industry has struggled to process. Jetti’s catalytic technology, whilst being especially advantaged for extracting copper from low-grade and highly refractory minerals, such as chalcopyrite, seamlessly integrates with existing heap leaching methods and downstream processing operations. The technology uses a catalyst which weakens the metal-sulfide bond in the crystalline structure of the chalcopyrite mineral and alters the structure of the passivation layer allowing the leaching process to continue. Metallurgical test work was conducted to examine the effect of ore variability, in terms of grade and copper deportment. The results presented in this study highlight the amenability of the technology and demonstrate that it is possible to enhance leaching performance of copper primary sulfides over a wide range of copper grades, from 0.1 to 2.2%. Further, it is concluded that despite the copper grade, the tests with increasing chalcopyrite content render copper recoveries up to 4 times higher compared to the tests under non-catalyzed conditions. Jetti’s catalytic technology is currently being evaluated at larger scales, namely a commercial dump leach operation and 50-tonne crib tests. The results obtained thus far are compared to the results from conventional sulfide heap leaching tests. INTRODUCTION For decades, the mining industry has been focussed to find an efficient and economically attractive process for the leaching of chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) is the most abundant and recalcitrant of the copper sulfides (Singer, 2017). Owing to its abundance and economic importance, it is the most demandable natural source for copper worldwide. In fact, the projected demand for copper is further expected to rise much higher beyond the current demand by the year 2020 (Panda et al., 2015). Therefore, it becomes imperative to find low intensity hydrometallurgical technologies for the extraction of copper from chalcopyrite in ores of such low-grades that are un-economic to concentrate and to augment the supply by extracting copper from ores with complex mineralogy that cannot be concentrated (Watling, 2013).
Mots Clés: Copper 2019, COM2019
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