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Evaluation of Some Leaching Reagents for Copper Extraction From a Gold Complex Ore by f.a. Cunha, A.h. Martins

Evaluation of Some Leaching Reagents for Copper Extraction From a Gold Complex Ore by f.a. Cunha, A.h. Martins

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Leaching,Gold Ores,Complex Ores
Leaching,Gold Ores,Complex Ores

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06/03/2013

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21 (2007) 43-48
EVALUATION OF SOME LEACHING REAGENTS FOR COPPER EXTRACTION FROM A GOLD COMPLEX ORE
F.A. Cunha
1
, A.H. Martins
1
1.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais,
 
Departamento de Engenharia Metalúrgica e de MateriaisRua Espírito Santo 35 sala 206-AG, CentroBelo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (MG), CEP 30160-030 - Brazil.Phone: (005531) 3238-1053 Telefax: (005531) 3238-1815E-mail: ahmartin@demet.ufmg.br
 ___________________________________________________________________________ 
Resumen
Algunas menas complejas de oro presentan altos contenidos de cobre y esto inhibe el uso delproceso hidrometalúrgico clásico de cianuración para recuperar el oro debido al alto consumo decianuro. Este artículo presenta los resultados experimentales para la extracción de cobre desdeuna mena compleja de oro-cobre procedente de Brasil, usando diferentes reactivos lixiviantes, así también como un pretratamiento para una mayor extracción de oro por cianuración. Algunosexperimentos se realizaron usando H
2
SO
4
, Fe
2
(SO
4
)
3
, H
2
O
2
, HCl, HClO
4
y NH
4
OH. El mayorporcentaje de cobre extraído (50%) se obtuvo con una solución de ácido sulfúrico a 82 + 2 ºC y 15minutos de lixiviación. Con una solución acuosa de ácido sulfúrico y peróxido de hidrógeno a 25 +2 ºC con 15 minutos de lixiviación, también se obtuvo un 50 % de cobre extraído. Sin embargo,estos resultados están muy bajos respecto del valor mínimo considerado como económicamentefactible (95%), para la etapa de recuperación de oro por cianuración.
Palabras claves:
cobre, oro, lixiviación.
 ___________________________________________________________________________ 
Abstract
Some gold complex ores present high copper content and it inhibits the direct use of classicalhydrometallurgical cyanidation process for gold recovery due to the high cyanide consumption.This paper presents the experimental results for copper extraction from a Brazilian gold-coppercomplex ore using different leaching reagents as an ore pre-treatment for further gold extractionby cyanidation. Some experiments were carried out using H
2
SO
4
, Fe
2
(SO
4
)
3
, H
2
O
2
, HCl, HClO
4
andNH
4
OH. The highest percent of copper extracted (50%) was obtained for a sulfuric acid solution at82±2
o
C for 15 minutes leaching. A sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide aqueous solution at 25±2
o
Cfor 15 minutes leaching also obtained 50% of copper extracted. However, these results were muchlower than the minimum value considered economic feasible (95%) for the cyanidation stage torecover gold.
Keyword
s: copper, gold, leaching.4243
 
F.A.Cunha, A.H.Martins 21 (2007) 43-48
1.Introduction
Hydrometallurgical treatment for goldores is based on the property differencesbetween gold and its gangues. A high density,the solubility of this metal in dilute cyanidealkaline solutions, the formation of mercuryamalgams capacity and its susceptibility tothe flotation process have constituted thebasis of the simplest and more commonprocess routes.Large reserves of gold-copper complexore have been found and increasing thevolume of researches projects related to theore treatment for gold extraction. The highvalue associated to this metal, the generationof environmental problems and theperspective of economical feasibility justifythe development of new technical solutionsfor a process route selection, which couldmaximize metals recovery with lower costs.The technical literature indicates thatacid leaching for copper extraction followedby cyanidation of the leach tailing is one of the most promising process alternatives forgold-copper complex ore treatment[1-6].This paper presents the experimentalresults of a hydrometallurgical route for thetreatment of the gold-copper ore fromIgarapé Bahia mine (Pará-Brazil) aiming atthe maximum copper extraction for the nextstage of cyanidation for gold recovery.
2. Experimental Procedure
A mineral sample of Igarapé Bahiaoxidized ore supplied by Companhia Vale doRio Doce (CVRD-Brazil) was used at leachingexperiments. The sample was submitted tochemical analysis by Atomic AbsorptionSpectrofotometry (Perkin Elmer modelAAnalyst-300) to determine the copperconcentration. Leach liquor samples and leachtailings after each experiment were alsoanalyzed to determine the copperconcentration.Copper leaching experiments wereconducted in a 300 mL long neck cylindricalglass flask reactor. A glass impeller with threecircular blades, driven by a mechanical devicewith speed control was used to stir the leachpulp. The temperature of the leach solutionwas kept constant using a heating plate withautomatic control. A mercury thermometerwas used to measure the temperature. Theleaching time was measured by a manualchronometer.
3
.
Leaching Experiments
Leaching experiments using the IgaraBahia oxidized ore were carried out usingdifferent leaching reagents to determine thepercentage of copper extracted. The oresample had 0.55% Cu and 3.54 g/t Au.The optimum experimental conditionsused in the first test [A] are shown in Table 1.These conditions were based on M
ENDES
 (1999) work, which evaluated ahydrometallurgical route for the pre-treatment of the gold-copper transition ore of Igarapé Bahia mine (1.93% Cu and 1.76 g/tAu) using an open vessel sulfuric acidleaching.Other experiments evaluated eachparameter of greater influence in the sulfuricacid leaching and were carried out rangingbetween two experimental levels. In thesetests [B], the goal was to verify if theconditions used in the first experiment basedon M
ENDES
(1999) work for the transition orecould also be used for maximum copperextraction for the oxidized ore.Tests were carried out using theconditions for experiment [A] adding severalconcentration of different leaching agents.Table 2 shows the reagents and theirconcentration used in each test. Some testswere performed at room temperature (25
o
C)because the manipulation of strong oxidantsubstances under high temperatures, forinstance H
2
O
2
, is not recommended bysecurity reasons.Stoichiometric concentration for each testwas determined assuming that all copper inthe ore sample was chalcopyrite (CuFeS
2
).This assumption was taken because CuFeS
2
isvery resistant specie to the oxidation causedby inorganic acid reagents typicaly used inleaching experiments. So, enough amounts of leach reagent for the oxidation of all copperspecies would be guaranteed.44
 
F.A.Cunha, A.H.Martins 21 (2007) 43-48
4. Results and Discussion
Table 3 shows the experimental resultsobtained for percentage of copper extractionusing different leaching reagents and therespective experimental conditions adopted.The experimental results show that test[A] using the optimum leach conditionsdetermined by M
ENDES
(1999), which reached50% of copper extracted, and test [E] using amixing solution of sulfuric acid and hydrogenperoxide, which reached 49% of copperextraction, were the tests that exhibited themaximum percentage of copper extraction.Comparing the results for tests [A] and[B] in which leaching parameters weremodified, it can be observed that the percentof copper extracted was close to 50%. Thisvalue shows that the optimum leachconditions determined by M
ENDES
(1999) forthe Igarapé Bahia transition ore can also beused to obtain the maximum copperextraction for the oxidized ore.The analysis of the results for tests usingsulfuric acid and ferric sulfate solutionrevealed that percent of copper extractionwere lower than the ones obtained for thesulfuric acid leaching test [A], under the sameexperimental conditions without ferric sulfate.Besides that, the increase of 2% in thecopper extraction obtained when ferric sulfateconcentration was doubled (results [C1] and[C2]) does not justify the use of largeamounts of this reagent.Leaching tests using hydrogen peroxide asa leaching reagent [D] resulted in 1.4% of copper extracted. Low extraction values wereexpected because almost all the hydrogenperoxide in solution decomposed when itcontacted the ore during the test.Tests [E] using sulfuric acid and hydrogenperoxide solution resulted in 49% of copperextracted. When it is compared to the resultfor test [B1] (25% of copper extracted), itcan be noticed a large increase for copperextraction by adding hydrogen peroxide tothe sulfuric acid solution. Diferently fromexperiments [D], only a small part of the H
2
O
2
decomposed when it contacted the ore,probably because the acidic solutiondecreased its decomposition as depicted byD
IMITRYEVIC
et al. (1996).The copper extraction values obtained fortest [F] using sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxideand ferric sulfate solution resulted in just29% of copper extracted and it wasconsidered low. These results were expectedbecause a large amount of hydrogen peroxidein solution decomposed even before itcontacted the ore. It occurred due to theferric ions presence in solution, which actedas catalyst for the decomposition of thehydrogen peroxide (D
IMITRYEVIC
et al., 1996).Results obtained for percentage of copperextraction in experiments [G] using HClresulted in 32% of copper extracted.They were lower than the results for test[A] (50% of copper extracted) using theexperimental conditions determined by M
ENDES
 (1999). However, when comparing thisextraction value with the result for test[B1](25% of copper extraction) obtained bythe H
2
SO
4
leaching at room temperature(25
o
C), it can be noticed that the HCl wasmore efficient to solubilize copper speciesthan the sulfuric acid reagent under the sameexperimental conditions.In the experiments using the perchloricacid as the leaching reagent [H] thepercentages of copper extracted were around22%. This value was lower than the resultsfor test [A] (50% of copper extracted), fortests [B1] using sulfuric acid under roomtemperature (25% of copper extracted) andat test [G] using cloridric acid (32% of copperextracted). Therefore, it can be concludedthat the perchloric acid was less efficient forcopper extraction by leaching than the otherreagents used in this work.Tests [I] resulted in 43% of copperextracted using perchloric acid and hydrogenperoxide solution. Besides, this result showeda lower percentage of copper extraction thanthe one obtained for test [A] (50% of copperextraction). It can be observed a largeincrement in percentage of copper extractionby the addition of hydrogen peroxide whencompared with the test [H] using onlyperchloric acid solution (22% of copperextracted).The results obtained for the experiments[J] using copper oxide II, ammoniumhydroxide and ammonium carbonate solutionwere close to 28% of copper extracted andconsidered low. These tests were carried outto compare the copper extraction valuesobtained in acid solutions (tests A, B, C, E, F,G, H and I) and in a basic solution.45

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