A Copper Hydrometallurgical Plant Dysfunctions Related to Changes in the Feed Mineralogy: Case of ROM Ores from the Mutanda Deposit (DR Congo

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A Copper Hydrometallurgical Plant Dysfunctions Related to Changes in the Feed Mineralogy: Case of ROM Ores from the Mutanda Deposit (DR Congo

August 24, 2021 Engineering 0

The hydrometallurgical processing of copper–cobalt oxide ores in the former Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) allows copper to be produced as cathodes and cobalt to be produced as hydroxides. Copper and cobalt are mostly present as malachite and heterogenite, respectively, in the run-of-mine (ROM) ores used as the feed to hydrometallurgical facilities. These copper and cobalt-bearing minerals are sulphuric acid leached under reducing circumstances (Na2S2O5 or SO2) to create leach liquors, which are then treated to solvent extraction (SX) before copper electrowinning (EW). Cobalt is extracted from copper’s SX raffinate using magnesia precipitation. The low-grade pregnant leach solution (PLS) recovered during the counter-current thickening (CCT) washing of the sulphuric acid leaching solid residues also precipitates cobalt. The goal of this study is to reduce the slowing in solid matter settling velocity at the Mutanda Mining (Mumi) hydrometallurgical plant during leach liquor recovery and clarifying by thickening suspended matter. Indeed, when the talcaeous mineral content of the ore used as feed grows, leach liquor clarity slows down, disrupting downstream operations such as copper SX and EW, resulting in the hydrometallurgical process. dysfunctions. Based on the results of leaching and settling tests carried out at a laboratory scale to simulate full-scale plant operation, it was determined that the leach liquor recovery and successful clarification were achieved when the pulp was prepared with a specific gravity of 6 percent solids, which means processing ore with a high talc content. When 80 g/t Superfloc N100 flocculent was added to the pulp produced by ore leaching, the settling velocity of particles was dramatically increased during the thickening tests.

Author (S) Details

L. M. Shengo
Department of Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry Unit, Faculty of the Sciences, University of Lubumbashi, P.O. Box 1825, Likasi Avenue, Haut-Katanga Region, The Democratic Republic of Congo.

M. F. Ilunga
Department of Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry Unit, Faculty of the Sciences, University of Lubumbashi, P.O. Box 1825, Likasi Avenue, Haut-Katanga Region, The Democratic Republic of Congo.

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