The leaching of chalcopyrite with ferric sulfate

Research paper by Tetsuji Hirato, Hiroshi Majima, Yasuhiro Awakura

Indexed on: 01 Sep '87Published on: 01 Sep '87Published in: Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B


The leaching kinetics of natural chalcopyrite crystals with ferric sulfate was studied. The morphology of the leached chalcopyrite and the electrochemical properties of chalcopyrite electrodes also were investigated. The leaching of chalcopyrite showed parabolic-like kinetics initially and then showed linear kinetics. In the initial stage, a dense sulfur layer formed on the chalcopyrite surface. The growth of the layer caused it to peel from the surface, leaving a rough surface. In the linear stage, no thick sulfur layer was observed. In this investigation, chalcopyrite leaching in the linear stage was principally studied. The apparent activation energy for chalcopyrite leaching was found to range from 76.8 to 87.7 kJ mol−1, and this suggests that the leaching of chalcopyrite is chemically controlled. The leaching rate of chalcopyrite increases with an increase in Fe(SO4)1.5 concentration up to 0.1 mol dm−3, but a further increase of the Fe(SO4)1.5 concentration has little effect on the leaching rate. The dependency of the mixed potential upon Fe(SO4)1.5 concentration was found to be 79 mV decade−1 from 0.01 mol dm−3 to 1 mol dm−3 Fe(SO4)1.5. Both the leaching rate and the mixed potential decreased with an increased FeSO4 concentration. The anodic current of Fe(II) oxidation on the chalcopyrite surface in a sulfate medium was larger than that in a chloride medium.