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Article

Caliche and Seawater, Sources of Nitrate and Chloride Ions to Chalcopyrite Leaching in Acid Media

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Universidad de Antofagasta, Av. Angamos 601, Antofagasta 1270300, Chile
2
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Universidad Arturo Prat, Almirante Juan José Latorre 2901, Antofagasta 1244260, Chile
3
Departamento de Ingeniería en Metalurgia y Minas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Av. Angamos 0610, Antofagasta 1270709, Chile
4
Departamento de Ingeniería en Metalurgia, Universidad de Atacama, Av. Copayapu 485, Copiapó 1531772, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2020, 10(4), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10040551
Received: 27 March 2020 / Revised: 20 April 2020 / Accepted: 22 April 2020 / Published: 24 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Metals: Metallurgy and Metal Technology)
Hydrometallurgical processing of chalcopyrite is of great interest today due to the depletion of oxidized copper minerals. This will also enable existing plants to continue operation. The objective of this work is to study the behavior of chalcopyrite leaching by stirring in an acid-nitrate-chloride media where seawater and brines provide chloride ions and nitrate ions can be provided from the caliche industry. The variables studied were sulfuric acid, nitrate and chloride concentration, source of water (dissolvent), temperature, solid/liquid ratio, particle size, mineral sample, and pretreatment before the leaching process. Despite being a refractory mineral, chalcopyrite can be leached in this system obtaining favorable recoveries at the conditions studied. It was possible to obtain 50% Cu in 0.7 M of H2SO4 and NaNO3, using brine at 45 °C. The nitrate-chloride-acid system was highly temperature dependent, with an activation energy of 82.6 kJ/mol, indicative of chemical reaction control of leaching kinetics. SEM/EDS indicated the presence of sulfur on the surface of the mineral after leaching. This study demonstrates that sources such as seawater or discard brines (such as from the reverse osmosis process) and waste (solid or solutions) from the caliche industry can provide a highly oxidative system for the dissolution of chalcopyrite. View Full-Text
Keywords: chalcopyrite; leaching; seawater; chloride; nitrate chalcopyrite; leaching; seawater; chloride; nitrate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hernández, P.; Gahona, G.; Martínez, M.; Toro, N.; Castillo, J. Caliche and Seawater, Sources of Nitrate and Chloride Ions to Chalcopyrite Leaching in Acid Media. Metals 2020, 10, 551. https://doi.org/10.3390/met10040551

AMA Style

Hernández P, Gahona G, Martínez M, Toro N, Castillo J. Caliche and Seawater, Sources of Nitrate and Chloride Ions to Chalcopyrite Leaching in Acid Media. Metals. 2020; 10(4):551. https://doi.org/10.3390/met10040551

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hernández, Pía, Giovanni Gahona, Monserrat Martínez, Norman Toro, and Jonathan Castillo. 2020. "Caliche and Seawater, Sources of Nitrate and Chloride Ions to Chalcopyrite Leaching in Acid Media" Metals 10, no. 4: 551. https://doi.org/10.3390/met10040551

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