Hydrometallurgy at the Sunshine Mine Metallurgical Complex
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1993
Processing of the refractory precious metal ore from the Sunshine Mine is done in a fully integrated hydrometallurgical facility. This operating philosophy began with the construction of an antimony plant during World War 11, and it continued with the construction of a silver-copper refinery in 1984. The antimony plant relies on an alkaline sulfide ambient pressure leach combined with antimony electrowinning and antimony compound production. This plant is the largest producer of antimony metal in the United States. The one-of-a-kind silver- copper refinery uses a nitrogen species catalyzed sulfuric acid pressure leach system. The plant contains innovative downstream silver recovery processes as well as copper solvent extraction and electrowinning. This paper presents the pertinent process chemistries and flow sheets for the two unique hydrometallurgical processing plants.