Electrochemical Evaluation of the Dissolution of Chalcopyrite in Cupric Chloride Solutions

Additonal authors: Petersen, 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

Beiza, L.

Chalcopyrite is by far the most abundant copper sulphide on Earth, but it has proved to be problematic in its processing by leaching, mainly related to its refractory nature, slow kinetic rates of dissolution and the formation of an inhibiting product layer on its surface during leaching. This study is focussed on the electrochemistry of chalcopyrite dissolution in acidic chloride system, which has recently gained attention as a feasible alternative to conventional sulphate media for chalcopyrite leaching. It is well understood that chalcopyrite dissolution from mineral grains depends strongly on the solution redox potential at the mineral surface as well as the composition of the product layer that may form on its surface. The chloride ions in solution support the Cu(II)/Cu(I) couple as the primary oxidant, as they can form complexes with the cuprous ions formed, increasing the dissolution rate. Additionally, these ions increase the potential range where chalcopyrite can be oxidized. The chemical reaction that occurs on the surface of chalcopyrite in chloride solutions in the presence of cupric ions will be characterized and the coulometry of the reaction will be reported to understand what is happening on the surface of chalcopyrite. Electrochemical experiments have been carried out to investigate the behaviour of mixed potential by open circuit potential (OCP) measurement for 30 minutes using sulphuric acid at pH 1 under nitrogen at 25⁰ C. The effect of chloride was analysed at 0, 20, 50 and 100 g/L and cupric ions from 0 to 50 g/L. The potentials obtained were then used to carry out chronoamperometry tests for a period of 30 minutes in absence of cupric ions. The mixed potential did not show a significant difference with an increase in cupric concentrations in the absence of chloride. Increased mixed potentials and current densities were observed at higher chloride and cupric concentrations. Chronoamperometry tests at those potentials were used to construct a voltammogram trace which has the same trend as a normal cyclic voltammogram but with much lower current densities. INTRODUCTION As a result of the depletion of copper oxides, the leaching of copper sulphide minerals has become the focus of many studies. Chalcopyrite, (CuFeS2) which is the most abundant of copper minerals, has proved to be challenging to process via hydrometallurgy, mainly related to its refractory nature, slow kinetic rates of dissolution and the formation of an inhibiting product layer on its surface, during leaching.
Mots Clés: Copper 2019, COM2019
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