Selective leaching of copper from near infrared sensor-based pre-concentrated copper ores
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Federal University of Lafia
University of Exeter
Shekwonyadu Iyakwari   

Federal University of Lafia
Publication date: 2019-12-12
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2020;56(1):204–218
Copper oxide ore was pre-concentrated using near infrared sensor-based method and classified as product, middling and waste. The product and middling fractions were leached with ammonium chloride reagent. The effect of temperature, ammonium chloride concentration, solid- liquid ratio, stirring speed and particle size experimental variables were investigated. Mineralogical and chemical analysis of the ore fractions indicated that copper content was in accordance with the pre-concentration strategy, with the product having a higher concentration than the middling and waste. The rate of copper extraction was found to be higher in the product than in the middling sample which further supports the near infrared classification, QEMSCAN®, X-ray diffraction, SEM mineralogical and X-ray florescence and Inductively coupled plasma Mass spectrometry chemical data. It was revealed that the leaching rate increases with increasing ammonium chloride concentration, temperature and decreasing ore particle size, stirring speed and solid-liquid ratio. Analysis of the experimental data by shrinking core model indicated that the dissolution kinetics follow the heterogeneous reaction model for the chemical control mechanism where the activation energies of 45.9 kJ/mol and 47.5 kJ/mol for product and middling fractions respectively were obtained. Characterization of the residue obtained at optimum leaching condition with X-ray diffraction suggests that copper was selectively leached when compared to the profile of the raw ore. The trace levels of metals associated with abundant X-ray diffraction profiles of residue found in the leachate further confirm the selective leaching process.