Hydrometallurgical Treatment Of Haib Copper Ore

Schlitt, W. J.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
The Namibian Copper Joint Venture has been formed to undertake development of the Haib copper deposit, one of the largest undeveloped copper resources in Africa. The development programme includes extensive hydrometallurgical testwork that is being managed by Kvaerner Metals (formerly Davy International).Various parts of the programme have been contracted to four third-party laboratories. The testwork involves sample selection and characterization, amenability tests, and a parametric study on the leaching variables. All portions of the programme are described and the results a represented. The ores selected for testing are quartz feldspar porphyries. The amenability tests include ?mapping? studies to assess optimum leach conditions, tests at high oxidation potentials, oxidation with various bacterial strains, and heap leach modelling. The parametric programme includes such variables as ore grade, leach temperature, crush size, pH, and ferric iron content of the lixiviant. Testing was done on both whole ore and concentrate. Results show that bacterial leaching is effective and that ore grade and temperature are key variables. Crush size and pH have less impact on copper extraction. For mid-grade ore, about 0.25 per cent copper, extraction is projected to reach 50 per cent after two years when heap leaching tertiary crushed ore at 60°C and pH 1.5. The heap leach operation would fit well with the proposed roast-leach operation used to treat higher grade ores. The latter could supply the low cost heat and acid needed in the heap leach.
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