UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modeling the kinetics of the zinc pressure leaching process - oxidative sphalerite leaching in sulphuric acid media Dyson, Devy Alexander William


In the field of hydrometallurgy, the industrial uptake of leaching models has been overlooked partially due to the lack of universal models. A model developed for one plant cannot easily be transferred for the application of a different plant without redesigning the leaching kinetics in the code. The Multiple Convolution Integral (MCI)-based model developed in this thesis has the ability to be universally applied by user-controlled inputs. Chemical reactions can be selected while the modeling software calculates the mass and energy balances. Residence times, operating conditions, and the rate-limiting reagents can also be defined to calculate a precise fraction reacted (leach extent) for sulphide minerals. The ability of the using the MCI model for predicting sphalerite leaching is examined in comparison to hydrometallurgical plant data collected from a Canadian pressure leach operation. The results are promising, showing that the model can predict plant Zn extraction data to within an error of 1.5 %. The model is further verified through bench scale pressure leaching experiments where 94 % of the zinc is extracted within 90 minutes using a concentrate sample from the same industrial plant. The effect of temperature is analyzed and the activation energy is calculated to be 40.8 kJ/mol. Interesting discoveries with respect to the reagent concentrations and their effect on the overall fraction reacted are also explored from the model results. In addition, the limitations of the MCI model are explained along with suggestions for improvement.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International