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clean technologies


Reconfiguring Liberator Circuits to Boost Arsenic Removal
Arsenic is introduced into a copper refinery circuit via the anodes. In general the higher the arsenic
concentration in the anodes the higher will be the arsenic that dissolves and enters the refinery circuit.
Higher arsenic orebodies are being developed worldwide and as a result the arsenic content of most
anodes is increasing.

Ref. C Sartin , Copper 2007

Arsenic is generally removed from the refinery circuit in three main ways:

1. With the anode slimes (typically 20-30% of the arsenic removal capacity)
2. By the liberators as an impure copper-arsenic cathode or powder (typically 20-50%)
3. In the bleed electrolyte from the circuit (typically 20-50%)

The rate of arsenic removal from a refinery is based mainly on the rate of arsenic removal in the liberator
circuit and the volume of bleed electrolyte from the circuit. Increasing the bleed rate from the circuit results
in water, acid and copper losses from the circuit and needs to be controlled carefully. Optimum arsenic
removal rate in the liberator circuit occurs when copper concentration is 2-10g/L.

Use of emew selective copper recovery technology to remove copper prior to the liberator circuit as high
grade cathode allows the secondary and tertiary liberators to remove arsenic very efficiently (in the 2-10g/L
copper concentration range). This configuration maximizes the arsenic removal rate from the refinery
bleed stream (potentially doubling the rate) while increasing cathode grade copper production.

emewCorporation © 2017
clean technologies


Process Benefits
Maximize (potentially double) arsenic removal rate from existing liberator circuit
Produce pure copper cathode and minimize recirculating copper load
Minimize volume and maximize arsenic concentration Cu-As of sludge
Commercial refinery references operating emew liberator replacement
Investment in expanded cathode production - added benefit of enhanced arsenic removal
Totally enclosed cells – no acid mist, easy to install and operate

Process Concept

1o Liberator 2o Liberator 3o Liberator

Cathode off spec cathode Arsenic sludge to converters

2o Liberator
1o Liberator emew
3o Liberator

Cathode Cathode Arsenic sludge to converters

Liberator emew cells producing copper cathode at a copper refinery

emewCorporation © 2017