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tions, while chalcopyrite acts as the


anode and is, therefore, preferentially dissolved.
Linus Sylwestrzak, leaching technology specialist with Bateman Engineering, says Galvanox does not
require fine grinding, generates elemental sulfur and has low oxygen
demand, requires no surfactants, can

cost-effectively treat low grade concentrates down to 9% copper, leads to


complete copper recovery typically
in less than 12 h and is fully compatible with conventional SX-EW.
While the Galvanox process has
not yet been commercialized, a process involving high pressure and temperature autoclaves, known as Total

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Pressure Oxidation (TPOX), has been


successfully commercialized by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
(Phoenix, Ariz.; www.fmi.com).
The companys plant, at Bagdad,
Ariz. initially a chalcopyrite concentrate pressure demonstration
plant capable of producing 40-million
lb/yr of copper has been converted
into a molybdenum concentrate leaching plant able to produce high-grade
molybdic oxide.
The company says the Bagdad
plant was the first in the world to
operate a medium-temperature pressure leaching process that minimizes
acid production.
The TPOX process is followed by
conventional SX-EW techniques.
While the cost of TPOX is relatively
high, high copper recoveries, better
than 99%, are achievable.
Quite a different technology, a chloride-based atmospheric leaching process called HydroCopper, is used by
Outotec Oyj (Espoo, Finland; www.
outotec.com) to leach the copper of
chalcopyrite and other sulfides. The
process has not yet been commercialized, but is undergoing comprehensive testing at the Pori site, a research
center (Figure 1) and demonstration
plant in Finland, says Outotecs metallurgist, Liisa Haavanlammi.
The HydroCopper process (Figure
2) has a flexible modular flowsheet
that can be tailored to different kinds
of copper concentrates. This allows
optimizing the process from mine
to metal and extending mine life to
lower cut-off grades. When smelter
concentrate cannot be cost-effectively
produced, HydroCopper may prove a
feasible alternative.
The process allows chalcopyrite and
other copper sulfides to be effectively
leached under atmospheric pressure
at a temperature of 80100C in a
strong, aggressive chloride solution
using Cu+2 ions as the oxidant.
Copper is precipitated from the purified leach solution as Cu+1 oxide,
which is reduced by hydrogen gas
to metallic copper powder, and then
melted and cast into copper product
such as wire rod, bars or billets.
The process can effectively handle

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