Behaviour and benefits of arsenic in copper electrorefining

CIM Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2016

M. S. Moats
Materials Research Center, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri, USA

N. Aslin and A. Pranowo
Glencore Technology, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

G. R. F. Alvear F.
Glencore Technology, Brisbane, Australia

http://dx.doi.org/10.15834/cimj.2016.16
Abstract The toxicity of arsenic is well known and documented; however, the presence of arsenic in copper electrorefining anodes and electrolytes is critically necessary to produce high-quality cathode. Arsenic as well as antimony and bismuth concentrations vary relative to their concentration in the anode copper received from the smelter. The behaviour and benefits of arsenic in copper electrorefining and the detrimental effects of antimony and bismuth on cathode quality and tankhouse performance are discussed. This will include the minimization and mitigation of problems associated with arsenic, antimony, and bismuth—including cathode contamination, floating slimes, scaling, and anode passivation.
Keywords: Antimony, Arsenic, Bismuth, Copper electrorefining, Lead
Résumé La toxicité de l’arsenic est bien connue et documentée; toutefois, la présence d’arsenic dans les anodes de l’électroaffinage du cuivre et dans les électrolytes est d’une nécessité critique pour produire une cathode de grande qualité. Les concentrations en arsenic, ainsi qu’en antimoine et en bismuth varient selon leur concentration dans l’anode de cuivre reçue de la fonderie. Le comportement et les avantages de l’arsenic dans l’électroaffinage du cuivre et les effets indésirables de l’antimoine et du bismuth sur la qualité de la cathode et le rendement des cuves d’électrolyse sont discutés. On traite aussi de la minimisation et de l’atténuation des problèmes associés à l’arsenic, l’antimoine et le bismuth – incluant la contamination de la cathode, les schlamms flottants, l’entartage et la passivation de l’anode.
Mots-Clé Antimoine, arsenic, bismuth, électroaffinage du cuivre, plomb
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