Improvement of chalcopyrite atmospheric leaching using controlled slurry potential and additive treatments
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Imam Khomeini International University
Publication date: 2017-05-23
Corresponding author
Mustafa Jafari   

Imam Khomeini International University, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran, 34148-96818 Qazvin, Iran
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2017;53(2):1228-1240
In this study, the synergistic effects of the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) of leaching slurry and additives (pyrite, sodium chloride and silica) on chalcopyrite atmospheric leaching were investigated. According to the best results of leaching experiments, in the optimum ORP range of 410-430 mV, galvanic (pyrite mass ratio of 4:1), chemical (1.5 mol/dm3 sodium chloride concentration), galvanochemical (pyrite mass ratio of 4:1 and 1.5 mol/dm3 sodium chloride concentration) and mechanical (30 g/dm3 silica concentration) treatments provided 29.8, 46.4, 48.6 and 6.7% increase in the copper recovery, respectively. In galvanic treatments, effective surface corrosion of chalcopyrite was the reason for enhanced chalcopyrite dissolution. In chemical and galvanochemical treatments, considerable surface porosity of chalcopyrite was responsible for accelerated leaching. Also, in mechanical treatments, removing the remained passive layer from the chalcopyrite surface improved leaching. SEM results showed extensive porosity in the chalcopyrite surface in the presence of pyrite and sodium chloride and even more porosity in the presence of their combination. SEM results also showed obviously clean surface of chalcopyrite in the presence of silica. The comparison of ORP-assisted and non-ORP-assisted experiments showed that there were 8, 5.2, 3.9 and 0.5% more copper recoveries in galvanic, chemical, galvanochemical and mechanical treatments with ORP assistance, respectively. The reason was the fewer chalcopyrite surface passivation, which caused the additives to perform better.
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