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Jiajia Wu, Junmo Ahn, and Jaeheon Lee
Comparative Leaching Study on Conichalcite and Chalcopyrite under Different Leaching Systems
Received: 6 December 2018;  Accepted: 31 January 2019.  Published online: 7 March 2019.
Copper leaching from low-grade copper ore samples obtained from two active mines in the US, named conichalcite (sample A) and chalcopyrite (sample B), were studied under different leaching conditions using sulfuric acid and methane sulfonic acid (MSA). The conichalcite, sample A, is calcium-copper arsenite hydroxide [CaCu(AsO4)(OH)] with small amount of gold and other metals. The copper grade is 0.41% with 0.48% arsenic and 2.04% sulfur. The chalcopyrite, sample B, was the main mineral with 0.60% copper grade with 0.73% sulfur and 0.032% molybdenum. Leaching systems utilized two oxidants (ferric ion and hydrogen peroxide) to investigate the kinetics of copper extractions. All leaching tests were performed by bottle roll leaching tests with 6.25% pulp density for 24 hours. Results showed that the leaching kinetics were relatively fast for oxidized sample A. Overall copper recovery was slightly affected by the oxidants and higher than 60% copper extraction was observed. Screen fractioned materials and the leached residue analysis showed that the copper grade in the residues are relatively consistent with 0.14-0.16% copper. This results showed that the ore samples contains readily leachable copper and refractory elements in all size fractions. The refractory portion seems to be relative uniform with wide range of easily leachable copper with 0.30 to 0.54% copper. Copper extraction from sample B using acids with ferric ion as an oxidant showed around 35% but it significantly increased over 80% using hydrogen peroxide as an oxidant. The copper extraction gradually increased up to 3.0 mol/L hydrogen peroxide content.
Keywords: conichalcite, chalcopyrite, leaching, hydrogen peroxide
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