Leaching characteristics of selected supergene copper ores
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1990
The US Bureau of Mines is conducting core leaching experiments with sulfuric acid on oxide copper ores from the Cyprus Casa Grande and Asarco/Freeport Santa Cruz deposit in Arizona to further the understanding of the leaching process in supergene copper ores as it relates to in situ mining. Leach solutions from atacamite mineralization contained 5 to 30 g/L (0.05 to 0.28 oz/gal) copper and few extraneous ions. Leachant from chrysocolla ores, with grades similar to the atacamite, contained 2 to 9 g/L (0.02 to 0.08 oz/ gal) copper and abundant extraneous ions. Quartz and K-feldspar had no impact on leach solution composition at any acid concentration up to 40 g/L - (0.39 oz/gal) while illite and sericite had minimal impact. Biotite, calcium-rich clay, and limonite have a significant impact on solution chemistry when there is abundant free acid in solution. High acid concentra¬tions increase acid consumption in ores with abundant biotite and limonite gangue. High acid concentrations can be used in ores with quartz, K feldspar, and sericite gangues without increasing acid consumption per unit of copper removed.