UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assisted dissolution of copper sulfides in ferric sulfate solutions : thiourea and its derivatives Quiroz Castillo, Luis Sergio


A study of the effects of thiourea and various thiourea-related chemicals as additives to acidic ferric sulfate leaching of copper sulfides (chalcopyrite, covellite, and chalcocite) has been performed, considering high-purity copper sulfide species and low-grade chalcopyrite ores from different sites in stirred tank, bottle roll, and small-scale column leaching configurations. The use of low concentrations of thiourea yields a significant increase in the extraction of copper from the considered copper sulfide species; thioacetamide and formamidine disulfide also display an increase in copper extraction. The increase in copper extraction using thiourea as an additive in ferric sulfate can decrease as the depth of the ore bed is increased. The extraction rates for cases with and without the use of additives also decrease with respect to time in column leaching. The difference in copper extraction between the cases with and without thiourea is gradually decreased in long-term column leaching experiments.

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