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Chloride assisted leaching of chalcocite by oxygenated sulphuric acid via Cu(II)–OH–Cl

Senanayake, G. (2007) Chloride assisted leaching of chalcocite by oxygenated sulphuric acid via Cu(II)–OH–Cl. Minerals Engineering, 20 (11). pp. 1075-1088.

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The beneficial effect of the addition of sodium chloride upon the leaching kinetics of complex iron–nickel–copper sulphides at elevated temperatures and oxygen pressures has been widely reported since the late 1970s, but the role of chloride is still being investigated or debated. Previous researchers have considered chloride as: (i) a complexing agent for cuprous ions; (ii) a surfactant that disperses the molten sulphur and thus removes passivation of the mineral surface by elemental sulphur during pressure leaching; and (iii) a reagent which increases the surface area and the porosity of the insoluble product layer on the surface. A proper understanding of the role of chloride based on the leaching of individual sulphides of known composition in the absence of host minerals at low pulp densities would be useful for the development of chloride assisted sulphate leaching processes for complex sulphide ores, concentrates, and mattes. In the present study evidence for the formation of basic salts of Cu(II) and Fe(III) during leaching are presented. The published rate data are analysed for the leaching of copper from mono-sized chalcocite particles in oxygenated sulphuric acid solutions maintained at 85 °C, a temperature lower than the melting point of sulphur. The initial leaching follows a shrinking particle (sphere) model, and the apparent rate constants are first order with respect to the concentration of dissolved oxygen and chloride. The intrinsic rate constant for the surface reaction (0.2 m s−1) is two orders of magnitude larger than the calculated mass transfer coefficient of oxygen (3 × 10−3 m s−1). The proposed reaction mechanism considers the formation of an interim Cu(II)(OH)Cl0 species which facilitates the leaching process.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Chemical and Mathematical Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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