Stabilizing Arsenic in Copper Heap Leaching Residues

Benavente, Oscar; Hernandez, Maria Cecilia; Melo, Evelyn; Quezada, Victor; Sepulveda, Yan; Zepeda, Yuri


The need to sustainably produce raw materials encourages mining companies to develop and incorporate new economically and environmentally efficient processes. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the behavior and stabilization of hazardous elements present in effluents from metal recovery processes such as arsenic. This study evaluates the incorporation of an effluent solution from a copper smelter that is to be treated in a copper hydrometallurgical plant (heap leaching). The treatment is applied to recover compounds of interest such as copper, acid and water, in addition to confining impurities as stable residues in the leach residues. Here, we assess the capacity of the mineral to retain arsenic. To do this, a mixed solution of effluent and process solution was prepared, with a concentration of 1 g/L of arsenic. The solution was irrigated in leach columns loaded with a heap mineral with varying pH levels (0.8; 1.5 and 2) and solution potentials (510 and 540 mV). The concentrations of arsenic and iron in the solution and in the solid residues were measured to determine the capacity of the mineral to retain arsenic and how it was retained. The pH level plays an important role since, at a higher pH, the presence of arsenic and iron in the solution decreases, therefore increasing in the solid residue. Finally, a retention of 57% of arsenic is reached at pH 2. The characterization of the residues by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) confirms that arsenic is associated with Fe, S and O, forming ferric arsenates, while an X-Ray analysis identifies the arsenic compounds as crystalline scorodite.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000580034700001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: METALS
Volumen: 10
Número: 9
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2020


Notas: ISI