Leaching of a pyrite-based ore containing copper using sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide

Abstract

The oxidation of sulfide-based ores is industrially relevant as it facilitates the extraction of valuable metals and eliminates undesired elements from an ore. Even though oxidation can be done thermally (pyrometallurgy), solution-based (hydrometallurgical) methods are currently sought as they represent a more sustainable option. Here, the leaching of a sulfide ore (32% Fe, 2% Cu) is investigated using a mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide (0.15 M H2SO4 and 0.5 M H2O2), in proportions forming a slurry 10% w/w. The leaching process is found to occur in two stages, the first corresponding to an exothermic, peroxide-mediated dissolution, and the second corresponding to an acid-mediated reaction, which appears to be thermoneutral. Control experiments performed with only peroxide confirm that this oxidant is involved in the first stage of the dissolution process. The leaching process leads to copper and iron dissolution (15% and 5%, respectively), as determined using atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). The mass of pyrite dissolved is estimated from AAS measurements and, from the stoichiometry of the peroxide-mediated dissolution reaction, it is found that ~ 80% of the peroxide participates in the dissolution, with the other 20% being decomposed, in a reaction catalyzed by ferric (Fe+3) ions produced during the first stage of the dissolution.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. 1.

    Crundwell FK (2014) The mechanism of dissolution of minerals in acidic and alkaline solutions: part III. Application to oxide, hydroxide and sulfide minerals. Hydrometallurgy 149:71–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2014.06.008

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Davenport WG, King M, Schlesinger M, Biswas AK (2002) Extractive metallurgy of copper, 4th edn. Pergamon Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Senanayake G (2008) A review of effects of silver, lead, sulfide and carbonaceous matter on gold cyanidation and mechanistic interpretation. Hydrometallurgy 90:46–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2007.09.013

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Breuer PL, Dai X, Jeffrey MI (2005) Leaching of gold and copper minerals in cyanide deficient copper solutions. Hydrometallurgy 78:156–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2005.02.004

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Bas AD, Koc E, Yazici YE, Deveci H (2015) Treatment of copper-rich gold ore by cyanide leaching, ammonia pretreatment and ammoniacal cyanide leaching. Trans Nonferrous Met Soc China English Ed 25:597–607. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1003-6326(15)63642-1

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Portilla RE et al (2020) Acidic pretreatment of a copper-silver ore and its beneficial effect on cyanide leaching. Miner Eng 149:106233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mineng.2020.106233

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Nunan TO et al (2017) Improvements in gold ore cyanidation by pre-oxidation with hydrogen peroxide. Miner Eng 108:67–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mineng.2017.01.006

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Murphy R, Strongin DR (2009) Surface reactivity of pyrite and related sulfides. Surf Sci Rep 64:1–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfrep.2008.09.002

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Subrahmanyam TB, Forssberg KS (1993) Mineral solution-interface chemistry in minerals engineering. Miner Eng 6:439–454. https://doi.org/10.1016/0892-6875(93)90173-K

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Chandra AP, Gerson AR (2010) The mechanisms of pyrite oxidation and leaching: a fundamental perspective. Surf Sci Rep 65:293–315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfrep.2010.08.003

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Alarcón A, Segura C, Gamarra C, Rodriguez-Reyes JCF (2018) Green chemistry in mineral processing: chemical and physical methods to enhance the leaching of silver and the efficiency in cyanide consumption. Pure Appl Chem 90:1109–1120. https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2017-0904

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Açma E, Arslan F, Wuth W (1993) Silver extraction from a refractory type ore by thiourea leaching. Hydrometallurgy 34:263–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-386X(93)90040-K

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Antonijević MM, Janković ZD, Dimitrijević MD (2004) Kinetics of chalcopyrite dissolution by hydrogen peroxide in sulphuric acid. Hydrometallurgy 71:329–334. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-386X(03)00082-3

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Huang JH, Rowson NA (2002) Hydrometallurgical decomposition of pyrite and marcasite in a microwave field. Hydrometallurgy 64:169–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-386X(02)00041-5

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Evangelou VP, Zhang YL (1995) A review: pyrite oxidation mechanisms and acid mine drainage prevention. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 25:37–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/10643389509388477

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Holmes PR, Crundwell FK (2000) The kinetics of the oxidation of pyrite by ferric ions and dissolved oxygen: an electrochemical study. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 64:263–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7037(99)00296-3

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Long H, Dixon DG (2003) Pressure oxidation of pyrite in sulfuric acid media: a kinetic study. Hydrometallurgy 73:335–349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2003.07.010

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Zárate-Gutiérrez R, Lapidus GT, Morales RD (2012) Aqueous oxidation of galena and pyrite with nitric acid at moderate temperatures. Hydrometallurgy 115–116:57–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2011.12.010

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Chang R (2010) Chemistry, 10th edn. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Chase MW Jr (1998) NIST-JANAF themochemical tables. J Phys Chem Ref Data 9:1–1951

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Heijnen JJ (2010) A thermodynamic description of microbial growth and product formation. In: Smolke C (ed) The metabolic pathway engineering handbook: fundamentals. CRC Press, Florida, pp 11–19

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Antonijević MM, Dimitrijević M, Janković Z (1997) Leaching of pyrite with hydrogen peroxide in sulphuric acid. Hydrometallurgy 46:71–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0304-386x(96)00096-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Dimitrijevic M, Antonijevic MM, Dimitrijevic V (1999) Investigation of the kinetics of pyrite oxidation by hydrogen peroxide in hydrochloric acid solutions. Miner Eng 12:165–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0892-6875(98)00129-0

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Dimitrijevic M, Antonijevic MM, Jankovic Z (1996) Kinetics of pyrite dissolution by hydrogen peroxide in perchloric acid. Hydrometallurgy 42:377–386. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-386X(95)00094-W

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Silva-Quiñones D, He C, Benndorf C, Jacome-Collazos M, Teplyakov AV, Rodriguez-Reyes JCF (2018) Identification of surface processes in individual minerals of a complex ore through the analysis of polished sections using polarization microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Minerals 8:427. https://doi.org/10.3390/min8100427

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Marzzacco CJ (1999) The enthalpy of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide: a general chemistry calorimetry experiment. J Chem Educ 76:1517–1518. https://doi.org/10.1021/ed076p1517

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Safarzadeh MS, Li J, Moats MS, Miller JD (2012) The stability of selected sulfide minerals in sulfuric acid and acidic thiocyanate solutions. Electrochim Acta 78:133–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2012.05.117

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Project funded by Peru´s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (FONDECYT-CONCYTEC) and the British Embassy in Lima [Contract numbers 154-2015 and 002-2016]. Key equipment for the conduction of experiments was acquired through a grant from the UNESCO/IUPAC/Phosagro Partnership for Green Chemistry for Life (Contract 4500245048). Ing. Luis Loaiza (Volcan Cía Minera) is acknowledged for the generous donation of ore samples and for useful discussions. The support provided by Ms. Flor Granda, Ms. Karinna Visurraga, Ms. Melissa Jacome and Mr. Renzo Portilla (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología—UTEC) and of Mrs. Yorsel Mayhua and Prof. Jorge Castillo (TECSUP) in the development of experiments is greatly appreciated. D. S.-M., G. P.-G. and J. T.-H. were supported through the project-based undergraduate program “Proyectos Interdisciplinarios - Vivir la Ingeniería” at Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología—UTEC.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Juan Carlos F. Rodriguez-Reyes.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Salas-Martell, D., Pareja-Guzman, G., Tello-Hijar, J. et al. Leaching of a pyrite-based ore containing copper using sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide. Int J Ind Chem (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40090-020-00212-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Hydrometallurgy
  • Leaching
  • Copper
  • Oxidative dissolution
  • Mineral processing