Ferric Chloride Leaching of a Copper Concentrate

Kyle J H, ; Misra V N,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
The recovery of copper from a flotation concentrate using ferric chloride leaching has been investigated. The concentrate from the Horseshoe Lights Mine near Meekatharra, Western Australia, contained mainly digenite, pyrite and talc minerals. Over 95 per cent of the copper was dissolved in an acidified ferric chloride solution in one hour at 70¦C and ambient pressure. The pyrite and gangue minerals did not react. The leaching process was found to consist of four separate reactions and the shrinking core model was used to describe the process. The effects of particle size, temperature, concentration of FeCls, stirring speed and leaching time on metal dissolution were investigated. The apparent activation energies in the second, third and fourth reactions of leaching of copper concentrate were 28.8, 11.9 and 53.9 kJ/mol, respectively. The optimum conditions for the leaching of copper from the concentrate, within the range of conditions studied were: particle size 63 per cent minus 38 ¦m, a ferric chloride concentration of 1.48 M, a temperature of 70¦C, and a stirring speed of 800 rpm.
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