Comparative Leaching of Silver Sulphide And Lead Sulphide in Ferric Chloride and Ferric Sulphate Media

Dutrizac, J. E. ; Johnson, R. E. ; Palmer, B. R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 23
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
Silver sulphide (acanthite) and lead sulphide (galena) dissolve relatively rapidly in FeCl3 media with the formation of elemental sulphur and soluble silver and lead chlorides. Parabolic kinetics are observed, and the leaching rates are controlled by the outward diffusion of the AgCl and PbCl2 reaction products through the constantly thickening elemental sulphur layer formed on the sulphide. Hence, both leaching rates are strongly dependent on those variables which affect the solubility of AgCl or PbCl2 at the reaction interface. The rates therefore increase with increasing temperature and total chloride ion concentration, but decrease in the presence of elevated concentrations of AgCl or PbCl2. By contrast, neither sulphide is significantly attacked by ferric sulphate media, even at high Eh values. Although the reasons for the refractory behaviour of Ag2S in sulphate media remain unknown, the low rate of PbS attack is attributable to the passivating layer of PbSO4 and elemental sulphur formed on the surface of the galena.
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