The Copper Segregation Process

Rey, Maurice
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
The copper segregation process is designed to concentrate oxidized copper ores or mixed sulfide-oxide copper ores which are refractory to normal and cheaper mineral dressing or leaching processes. Such ores contain copper silicates or highly disseminated copper minerals in a gangue not entirely free from limestone or dolomite. Concentra¬tion by flotation is, under these circumstances, not possible and the acid-consuming constituents do not permit acid leaching. A high temperature treatment at 700-800°C, in the presence of a small amount of sodium chloride and of finely divided carbon, concentrates the copper into easily floated metal by a kind of reducing chloridizing roast. The sulfides, if present, are either oxidized in the heating stage and react like oxides or float with the metallic copper in the flotation step. The ores which have the aforementioned characteristics and which are high grade enough to pay for the treatment are scarce, so that the process has only a limited application. Theory of Copper Segregation Sodium chloride, reacting with water vapor and the acid gangue constituents, produces hydrogen chloride which reacts with the copper minerals. The copper is volatilized as cuprous chloride and immedi¬ately reduced on the coal particles by hydrogen emanating from the volatile matter of the coal and from the water-gas reaction. Hydrogen chloride is
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