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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Kinetics of leaching of covellite in ferric-sulfate-sulfuric acid media Angeles , Carlos


Hydrometallurgy methods to extract copper are becoming more frequently applied in modern industry. However, the leaching kinetics for certain minerals like covellite is poorly understood. This thesis investigates the kinetics of covellite leaching in a ferric-sulfate-sulfuric acid media, with an emphasis first placed on the understanding of the effect of the most common variables such as temperature and redox potential. A natural mineral sample of covellite and an ore sample from the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia were obtained for the leaching studies. The leaching temperature was varied from 20° to 90°C, the total iron concentration varied from 0.1 mol/L to 0.5 mol/L, the Fe+³/Fe+² ratios varied from 0.1 to 10. The leaching results showed that an increase in temperature will result in an increase in the rate and extent of copper extraction. However, the redox potential or Fe+³/Fe+² ratio have little to no effect on the final copper extraction. These factors had only a modest impact on copper leach kinetics. The final copper extractions for covellite from Butte, Montana and covellite containing ore from Oyu Tolgoi at the same temperature were very similar. The key factor to improve copper extraction from covellite containing ores is to maximize the leach temperature. The other factors appear to be much less important. These findings provide the basis for process design and optimization of industrial leaching processes of covellite.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada