Treatment of Copper-Zinc Concentrates By Pressure Hydrometallurgy

A process has been developed in the Sherritt Gordon Laboratories for the treatment of copper-zinc concentrates. The paper describes the process as it was demonstrated, in a three-month pilot-plant campaign, on copper concentrates from the Bagacay and Sipalay mines of Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc., Philippines. Following ammonia leaching and solution purification, copper was recovered, in the form of a powder with controlled characteristics, by reduction of the solution with hydrogen under
pressure. The suitability of the copper powder for direct rolling into strip, for direct extrusion, and for melting and casting into wire-bar was demonstrated by companies associated with the project. Basic zinc carbonate, precipitated from the reduction end-solution, was dissolved in sulphuric acid in the form of recycled electrolyte, and the zinc was recovered by electrolysis. The essential features in the chemistry of the process are discussed and the effects of .some of the more important process variables are outlined.
Keywords: Ammonia, Ammonia, ammonium sulphate, autoclave, Strip Copper, Zinc Carbonate Precipitation, Concentrate, Concentrates, copper, Reduction, Sulphate, Sulphates, zinc
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