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The electrochemistry of chalcopyrite in alkaline solutions

Nicol, M.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-8757-161X (2019) The electrochemistry of chalcopyrite in alkaline solutions. Hydrometallurgy, 187 . pp. 134-140.

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This paper summarizes the results of a study of the anodic characteristics of chalcopyrite in alkaline hydroxide and carbonate solutions. The cathodic reduction of oxygen, peroxide and hypochlorite have also been investigated as possible oxidants in a two-stage process for the heap leaching of chalcopyrite under alkaline conditions.

Mixed potential measurements of chalcopyrite in alkaline solutions showed that the reactivity of the common oxidants is in decreasing order hypochlorite > peroxide > oxygen >> chlorate.

Anodic oxidation of chalcopyrite involves active oxidation at low potentials followed by a passivation peak and transpassive oxidation at higher potentials. The kinetics of oxidation is favoured by increasing pH in both hydroxide and carbonate solutions. The formation of solid products of oxidation does not prevent continued oxidation for up to 18 h at potentials below the peak. Coulometric measurements suggest that both thiosulfate and sulfate ions are produced by oxidation in sodium hydroxide solutions while thiosulfate is the main product in carbonate and bicarbonate solutions.

At potentials close to the mixed potentials, the rate of reduction of hypochlorite is approximately first-order in hypochlorite concentration and is greater at low hydroxide ion concentrations. The rate of the cathodic reduction of peroxide is also greater at lower pH values but is complicated by the surface catalysed disproportionation of peroxide to water and oxygen.

Rates of oxidation of chalcopyrite by both hypochlorite and peroxide in sodium hydroxide solutions have been estimated. The rates in hypochlorite are an order of magnitude greater than those in peroxide solutions and are of the same order of magnitude as those previously measured for the dissolution of chalcopyrite in ammoniacal solutions with copper(II) ions as the oxidant.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
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