Copper Exchange Capacity of Clays and the Effect of Competing Ions on in situ Copper Leaching

Bush, R. P. ; Bhappu, R. B. ; Clark, A. E. ; Johnson, R. E. ; Palmer, B. R. ; Schultze, L. E. ; Topkaya, Y.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 15
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted copper exchange capacity (CuEC) tests for six common clays under simulated in situ leaching conditions. Regression equations were obtained from the data expressing the CuEC as a function of Cu concentration, pH, and temperature. Further testing resulted in regression equations expressing CuEC's of Na and Ca montmorillonites and attapulgite as a function of Cu concentration, pH, and the concentration of metal ions which compete with Cu for exchange sites. Using these equations, an analysis was made of the impact each clay could have on overall copper recovery. The results suggest that Ca and Na montmorillonite clays could have a major impact on Cu recovery and that attapulgite and illite clays could have a smaller, but still significant, impact. Kaolinite and ripidolite clays pose little threat to loss of copper from in situ leaching solutions. Copper losses are decreased by the presence of competing ions, and A1 and Mg have the largest impact of those ions normally present in Cu leaching solutions.
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