A comprehensive study of the leaching behavior and dissolution kinetics of copper oxide ore in sulfuric acid lixiviant

Document Type: Article

Authors

1 Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran

2 Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran.

Abstract

The leaching behavior of an Iranian copper oxide ore in sulphuric acid was investigated in detail to evaluate the influence of various factors, to optimize the dissolution conditions and to determine the kinetics of the leaching. The results indicated that the increase in the leaching time and temperature enhanced the leaching rate of copper. The leaching rate increased up to a certain value with increasing the agitation rate, acid concentration and liquid/solid ratio and with further increment reduced. Agitaion rate had the most influence on the dissolution of copper. The 3D response surface graphs confirmed the interactive effects of sulphuric acid concentration, agitation speed, and liquid/solid ratio with temperature. About 91% copper content was leached at~13% sulphuric acid concentration, stirring rate of 600 rpm, liquid/solid ratio of 10 mL/g and 50 °C after 80 min leaching. The dissolution kinetics was examined according to heterogeneous models. The shrinking core model assuming rate control by diffusion through the product layer was found appropriate to describe the dissolution of copper in sulphuric acid solution. The activation energy was obtained to be 26.699 kJ/mol and equation representing the leaching kinetics of copper based on diffusion-controlled model was found to be 1-3(1-x)2/3+2(1-x) = 161.97×exp(-26.699×103/8.314×T)×t.

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