The role of catalyst in the passivation of chalcopyrite during leaching

Document Type : Research Paper


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In this work, we present as investigation of chalcopyrite leaching under different leach conditions for how liquidation and surface of chalcopyrite study using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to determine the composition of the passivation layer in the surface of chalcopyrite. The study of chalcopyrite dissolution were in H2SO4 solution systems at pH of 1.2, with 5% chalcopyrite concentrate in redox potential of 460 mV at 90°C. The tests were directed to study on the leaching of chalcopyrite in ferric sulfate solution to extract copper with adding pyrite, silver and silver coated pyrite. In these approaches, achieved recoveries were different. The results showed that, in the present of pyrite, the presence of the elemental sulfur layer formed around the chalcopyrite particles which hindered the complete dissolution of copper in chalcopyrite. Also, in the presence of silver, no commercial process has been developed which successfully as a catalyst to recover copper from chalcopyrite. Because, the precipitation of argentojarosite, which forms during the leaching process, limits the availability of silver ion in solution which may act as a catalyst. But syndicate of silver and pyrite to form of silver coated pyrite, causes dissolution increase. However, in the presence of the pyrite coated by silver, leaching was very rapid for the duration of the test, and complete copper extraction was achieved within 10 hours.