Mechanical activation has been applied prior to leaching to improve copper extraction from chalcopyrite. Results showed that 86% copper was extracted within 2 h from chalcopyrite ground with sodium chlorite at 500 rpm, at pH 1.0 (sulfuric acid) and 348 K, greater than from leaching of unground (4.5% copper extraction) and ground chalcopyrite without sodium chlorite (13.5% extraction). Size reduction, structural modification and phase transformation were suggested as three mechanisms for improved copper extraction rate, with the last mechanism found to be dominant. Two leaching steps were proposed, for the first time, for chalcopyrite ground with sodium chlorite, including the first stage primarily determined by the dissolution of copper chlorite formed via a solid state reaction during grinding with chalcopyrite and the second stage dominated by the dissolution of unconverted chalcopyrite. This study suggests that grinding of chalcopyrite with sodium chlorite is beneficial to highly efficient copper extraction from chalcopyrite.
- copper extraction
- Mechanical activation