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Small scale copper elector-refinery (9 replies)

Carmen Ibanz
10 months ago
Carmen Ibanz 10 months ago

I would like to have experts’ suggestion about an application of SX in small scale copper elector-refinery (3-5 Kt/Y) and if it is tangible, are there any successful references.

Main concept is to refine 97-98% grade copper Anodes to 99.999 pure Cathodes by using SX circuit to control impurities in EW electrolyte. Main source of impure copper is recycling so we should expect variety of impurities Fe, Ni, Pb and Sb

Bill Fraser
10 months ago
Bill Fraser 10 months ago

The single main problem you have is the high acid concentration which will prevent Cu extraction from proceeding.

Bill Rico
10 months ago
Bill Rico 10 months ago

Indeed it's not practical to directly use SX with electrolyte to extract copper, but in conjunction with "bleed off" system where we could use SX in more friendly condition and controlled acid concentration. Obvious weakness is acid consumption. Considering availability of cheap sulfuric acid will in favour of cost benefit for process.

Dizzy Flores
10 months ago
Dizzy Flores 10 months ago

If you are electro refining , the "impure "anode is the source of your copper so what you need to do is control the level of impurities in the electrolyte so it does not interfere with the cathodic electrodepositing process. Copper electro refineries routinely do this particularly by bleeding, plating down the copper and then depositing arsenic, antimony sludge’s (careful here - arsine!). There is good technology available through Xstrata and molecular recognition technology. These can control your impurities and separate them a saleable by-products not just waste streams and avoid the plating down difficulties. Your capacity is small but it should be feasible to use this type of approach.

Carmen Ibanz
10 months ago
Carmen Ibanz 10 months ago

Thanks everybody, I got my picture. I see no popularity in direct application of SX in copper ER.

Bob Mathias
10 months ago
Bob Mathias 10 months ago

The aim of including SX in copper refinery plant is removal of copper that bringing with O2 and constructed. In these plants EW is better than SX to removal of copper oxide. The amount of bleeding should be calculated according to amount of O2 in anode. The aim of EW in this plant is not producing of copper LME Grad A, but the main objective is removal of copper oxide and other impurities that brought from Anode. Also we have to consider that the base of EW is copper Oxide removing. To other impurities for example As or Sb, SX or IX should be considered.

Marshal Dienes
10 months ago
Marshal Dienes 10 months ago

I do not think it will be economical to spend 2,000 kwh/t vs. 400 kwh/t just to mention that extra cost for going from blister copper to electrolytic copper.

Recommendation is to consider a purification method to remove impurities but direct electro-refining is more logical than introducing an SX circuit.. Even purification in the smelting section is worth considering.

Paul Morrow
10 months ago
Paul Morrow 10 months ago

I agree totally with it. If you have anodes you are energetically most of the way there. Just build an electro-refinery and make cathode at 0.3 kWh/kg rather than 2 kWh/kg in EW.

David Kano
10 months ago
David Kano 10 months ago

If you want to control impurity in circuit, you cannot use SX for Sb or Bi. You have to use IX for these but because critical range of As is AX. Less than 15gr/lit you can use SX. For Ni after EW and then one step purification you can produce NI carbonate or sulphate. But all of these should be cheeked according to your Anode composition, Slime behaviour and electrolyte composition. Also you have to consider economical.

Sugar Watkins
10 months ago
Sugar Watkins 10 months ago

In my opinion there is option of combining electro refining circuit (large) with a small SX-EW as releasing impurities. Everything depends on the level of impurities.

I like to solve the technical problem first and then see if it is an economic solution.

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