Leaching of Copper Matte in Oxygenated Mixed Chloride/Sulphate Leachant

Lawson F,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
The leaching behaviour of BHAS copper matte in oxygenated acidic sulphate chloride solutions at 85¦C has been studied using samples containing 34% copper, 41% lead and 12% sulphur. Copper sulphide in the matte, essentially Cu2S was found to leach in two distinct stages. Similar to the behaviour of pure chalcocite, copper dissolution in the first stage was affected by the availability of oxygen in solution. The presence of chloride ions in the leachant was essential if there was to be any leaching in the second stage (which usually commenced after about 40% of the copper had been taken into solution). Lead sulphide in the matte was oxidised to lead sulphate and formed a shell around the partially leached matte particles. Electrochemical studies showed that this lead sulphate and/or sulphur produced during leaching can form a passivating layer around the copper sulphide. However, this layer was disrupted when chloride ions were present. A Plackett-Burman analysis was used to determine the species in the recycled leach solution that affect the leaching of copper. Under the experimental conditions used, in the first stage the rate of copper dissolution was influenced by the concentrations of sulphuric acid, Zn(II), Cu(II), Fe(III) and Cd(II). In the second stage, the rate was futher modified by the concentrations of Cl(I) and As(V) ions. In solutions of low acidity and high As(V) concentration, insoluble copper arsenate formed which coated the partially leached matte particles and acted as a barrier to futher reaction.
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