Optimisation of Copper Electrowinning at BHAS

Mark C J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
Since the commissioning of the BHAS Copper Plant in 1984 the copper electrowinning operations have not fully met expectations. During 1988, a laboratory scale electrowinning unit was constructed to enable an investigation of the effects of process parameters on copper cathode deposition and quality. The process parameters investigated were copper concentration, acid concentration, current density, electrolyte temperature, electrolyte flow, electrolyte impurities and electrolyte additives. The findings of this research program indicate that there is an optimum cathode deposition morphology which results in good quality copper deposits which have improved stripping characteristics. All of the process variables investigated influenced the copper deposition and therefore it was necessary to delineate a suitable operating envelope for the copper electrowinning. As a result new standard operating parameters in electrowinning have been implemented which has enabled the production of higher quality copper cathodes with improved stripping characteristics.
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