A Lyometallurgical Process for Leaching Copper from Chrysocolla
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1993
A lyometallurgical process for extracting copper from an ore containing chrysocolla by leaching it with a kerosene solution containing LM 63 in the presence of small amounts of aqueous ammonia is described. The experimental results indicate that 70 to 75 percent of the copper can be extracted from the ore using an ammonia content that is about one-fourth the stoichiomeaic quantity required to leach copper in an aqueous leaching system. The rate of copper extraction was found to be a function of particle size, ammonia concentration and temperature. The large quantity of physically adsorbed water together with ammonia in the pores of chrysocolla provides a mechanism for the transport of copper to the external surface of the particles where it is complexed by the LM molecules and transferred into the organic phase. When size reduction accompanies leaching, the extraction process was found to proceed when only "trace" quantities of ammonia are present in the system. The kinetics of the extraction process appear to be controlled by a mixed (reaction and diffusion) mechanism.