Copper Recovery from Water of Soryinskoye Tailing Pond


The large volume of recycling waters from the Soryinskoye tailing pond (up to 1300 m3/h) offers interesting possibilities for processing concentrates despite the low copper content (5.2-16.4 mg/l). Sulfides precipitation is the most efficient method of heavy metal ions removal from water. In this study, a sulfur solution in sodium hydroxide was used as a sulfidizing agent for precipitation. Commercial liquid alkali (NaOH – 46) and commercial sulfur were the initial agents. Due to the concentrated alkali, dissolution could be carried out at 115-120С, which is higher than the melting point of sulfur. Stable solutions were obtained at a weight ratio of NaOH: S = 1: 1 and a sulfur concentration of 350 g/l. During the laboratory and scale-up laboratory tests, the optimal consumption of sulfidizing agent was determined (110% of the stoichiometry for the formation of Cu2S, and copper extraction into the precipitate from the solution was more than 90.0% with high selectivity towards Zn and Fe). An extended analysis of the composition of the sediment (x-ray fluorescence spectrometer SPECTRO XEPOS) obtained during pilot trials showed that the main elements are, %: sulfur 58.4; oxygen 16.2; copper 8.9; iron 5.7; calcium 4.7 and arsenic 3.8. The total fraction of impurity elements does not exceed 2.3%. This study assumes use of the product conditioning to obtain concentrate with increased copper content and sulfur return to sulfidation stage.

Keywords: acid mine drainage, copper recovery, chemical treatment, sulfide precipitation

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