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Applications of the electrochemistry of fine mineral sulfides

Nicol, M.J. and Miki, H. (2005) Applications of the electrochemistry of fine mineral sulfides. In: Proceedings of the Jan D. Miller Symposium - Innovations in Natural Resource Processing, 28 February - 2 March, Salt Lake City, USA pp. 179-192.


Relatively simple techniques have been developed which enable the electrochemistry of sulfide minerals to be studied with particles varying in size from above 100 μm to less than 1 μm. Both oxidative and reductive processes have been studied using the minerals pyrite, arsenopyrite and chalcopyrite. It has been shown that it is possible to completely oxidise or reduce the minerals during a single voltammetric sweep. The resulting voltammogram produces peaks which are characteristic of each mineral and can be used to qualitatively identify the minerals. In the case of chalcopyrite, it has been demonstrated that the charge involved in the anodic oxidation can be quantitatively related to the amount of copper dissolved. Quantitative information can be obtained using peak fitting techniques. Interesting differences in the behaviour of the minerals in sulfuric and hydrochloric acids have been observed, particularly in the case of pyrite for which a second major peak is obtained which has been attributed to the oxidation of elemental sulfur in the presence of chloride ions. The technique offers the possibility of providing mineralogical information of individual particles based on an electrochemical voltammetric fingerprint.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions
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