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Open AccessArticle

Accelerating Copper Leaching from Sulfide Ores in Acid-Nitrate-Chloride Media Using Agglomeration and Curing as Pretreatment

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Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avda. Angamos 601, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería en Minas, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avda. Angamos 601, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
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Departamento de Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Minas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Avda. Angamos 0610, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040250
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Hydro- and Biohydrometallurgy)
This work investigates the effect of an agglomeration and curing pretreatment on leaching of a copper sulfide ore, mainly chalcopyrite, using mini-columns in acid-nitrate-chloride media. Ten pretreatment tests were conducted to evaluate different variables, namely the addition of nitrate as NaNO3 (11.7 and 23.3 kg/ton), chloride as NaCl (2.1 and 19.8 kg/ton), curing time (20 and 30 days) and repose temperature (25 and 45 °C). The optimum copper extraction of 58.6% was achieved with the addition of 23.3 kg of NaNO3/ton, 19.8 kg of NaCl/ton, and after 30 days of curing at 45 °C. Under these pretreatment conditions, three samples of ore were leached in mini-columns. The studied parameters were temperature (25 and 45 °C) and chloride concentration (20 and 40 g/L). The optimum copper extraction of 63.9% was obtained in the mini-column leaching test at 25 °C, with the use of 20 g/L of chloride. A higher temperature (45 °C) and a higher chloride concentration (40 g/L) negatively affected the extraction. The pretreatment stage had favorable effects, in terms of accelerating copper dissolution and improving leaching of copper sulfide ore in acid-nitrate-chloride media. Waste salts from caliche industry and waste brine from reverse osmosis can be used for providing the nitrate and chloride media. View Full-Text
Keywords: agglomeration; curing; copper sulfide; chalcopyrite; pretreatment; nitrate; chloride agglomeration; curing; copper sulfide; chalcopyrite; pretreatment; nitrate; chloride
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hernández, P.C.; Dupont, J.; Herreros, O.O.; Jimenez, Y.P.; Torres, C.M. Accelerating Copper Leaching from Sulfide Ores in Acid-Nitrate-Chloride Media Using Agglomeration and Curing as Pretreatment. Minerals 2019, 9, 250.

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