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Electrochemistry of the oxidative leaching of copper from chalcopyrite

Parker, A.J., Paul, R.L. and Power, G.P. (1981) Electrochemistry of the oxidative leaching of copper from chalcopyrite. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Interfacial Electrochemistry, 118 . pp. 305-316.

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Electrochemical aspects of semi-conductors explain many features of chalcopyrite leaching by iron(III) and copper(II) salts. A surface film thought to be a metal deficient polysulfide, which is a semi-conductor, forms on chalcopyrite during oxidation. This film is thermally unstable and slows transport of ions, slows electron transfer to oxidants and slows the supply of holes to the solid-solution interface. The Fe3+/Fe2+ couple, indeed most redox couples, are much less reversible on corroding chalcopyrite than on pyrite. On corroding chalcopyrite Fe3+/Fe2+ is much less reversible than are Cu2+/Cu+, I3−/I− and Fe(CN)63−/Fe(CN)64− salts.

The sulfur film which forms on corroding chalcopyrite does not account for the electrochemical or kinetic aspects of chalcopyrite leaching. Catalysis of FeCl3 leaching by CuCl2 in solution, or by Ag2S or FeS2 in the solid CuFeS2, is explained by the electrochemical model. Ways of enhancing the rates of leaching are suggested.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 1981 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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