Title : Novel process to dissolve copper from chalcopyrite with the use of manganese nodules and wastewater
Chalcopyrite is the most abundant copper ore in the world and the most commonly used to produce metallic copper. However, it is mainly produced by pyrometallurgical processes that emit (182,000 t / year among all Chilean smelters) SO2 into the atmosphere, causing concern in the population due to contamination in the environment. Hydrometallurgy is presented as a process more friendly to the environment, however, it consumes a lot of water while being used. In this investigation, a pure chalcopyrite mineral is leached at room temperature with the addition of manganese nodules (with high concentration of MnO2) as an oxidizing agent and the use of waste water with a high concentration of chloride to improve the dissolution and avoid the passivation of the chalcopyrite. The high concentrations of MnO2 in the system (4/1 and 5/1) allow the potential values to be between 580 and 650 mV, which favors the dissolution of CuFeS2. High concentrations of chloride in the system allow to significantly increase Cu solutions from CuFeS2, achieving better results when working with waste water compared to seawater.
Audience Take Away:
- The novel leaching mechanism (chemical reaction) will be explained in a simple way, also indicating the specific virtues of working with MnO2 and wastewater
- The audience will quickly understand the benefits of a process that is not difficult to replicate. This research is the first of its kind, and therefore it can be extended in several factors to investigate in the future, therefore, it is very feasible to carry out collaborative research with people from the area in other Universities. Finally, it is mentioned that this process is easy to implement and can become a practical solution to industrial problems.