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Leaching of Chalcopyrite in Acidified Nitrate Using Seawater-Based Media

Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avda. Angamos 601, Antofagasta 1270300, Chile
Centro de Investigación Científico Tecnológico Para la Minería (CICITEM), Sucre 220, Of. 602, Antofagasta 1270300, Chile
Departamento de Ingeniería en Minas, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avda. Angamos 601, Antofagasta 1270300, Chile
School of Natural and Built Environment, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, Kingston University, London KT1 2EE, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 238;
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Hydro- and Biohydrometallurgy)
The leaching of copper from industrial copper ore with 4.8 wt % chalcopyrite by acidified nitrate with seawater based media was investigated. Water quality (pure water and seawater), temperature (25–70 °C), reagent concentration, and nitrate type (sodium and potassium) were studied variables. Leaching conditions were: 100 g ore/1 L solution; P80 of 62.5 µm; 400 rpm and leaching time, varying between 3 and 7 days. Nitrates in sulfuric acid are known to be good oxidants for sulfide ores. This study showed that up to 80 wt % copper could be extracted at 45 °C in 7 days. In the absence of nitrate, under the same leaching conditions, only a 28 wt % copper extraction was achievable. The extraction rate increased to 97.2 wt % when leach temperature was increased to 70 °C in nitrate-chloride-acid media. The presence of chloride ions also increased the copper extraction rate. The copper extraction achieved in seawater systems were higher than in water systems under the same leaching conditions (increased by an average of 18 wt %). This effect can be attributable to the contribution of chloride that increases proton (H+) activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrate; chalcopyrite; chloride; leaching; seawater nitrate; chalcopyrite; chloride; leaching; seawater
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Hernández, P.C.; Taboada, M.E.; Herreros, O.O.; Graber, T.A.; Ghorbani, Y. Leaching of Chalcopyrite in Acidified Nitrate Using Seawater-Based Media. Minerals 2018, 8, 238.

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