Oxygen Pressure Leaching of a Bulk Flotation Concentrate form a Complex Cu-Pb-Zn Sulphide Ore

Canterford J H, ; Dyson N F, ; Sparrow G J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
Pressure leaching of a bulk flotation concentrate prepared from a complex Cu-Pb-Zn sulphide ore was carried out at 150 and 190¦C under 1050 kPa oxygen overpressure in 1 L and 4 L titanium autoclaves to extract zinc, and to obtain residues for smelting tests and leach liquors for purification and recovery of the zinc by electrowinning. Dissolution of 95% of the zinc was achieved at both temperatures. Copper and iron dissolution and the degree of oxidation of the sulphide sulphur to elemental sulphur or sulphate depended on the temperature of the leach. At 190¦C, a jarosite (a basic iron sulphate) was the major iron-containing material in a residue that contained 17% total sulphur. Its formation was associated with dissolution of 18% of the iron. At 150¦C, oxidation of the sulphide sulphur and dissolution of the iron were significantly less. Only 7% of the iron was dissolved and a residue containing 25% total sulphur, present as a lead jarosite, lead sulphate, and elemental sulphur, was obtained. The formation of small pellets of unreacted sulphides coated with elemental sulphur caused problems during the leaching at 150¦C, and also during scale-up from the 1 L to the 4 L autoclave at 190¦C. At 150¦C the concentrate required two stages of leaching to achieve dissolution of over 90% of the zinc. These problems are discussed.
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