Mining Publication: Copper Exchange Capacity of Clays and Their Potential Effect on In Situ Copper Leaching
The U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted Cu exchange tests for six common clays under simulated in situ leaching conditions. Regression equations were obtained from the data expressing the Cu exchange capacity as a function of Cu concentration, pH, and temperature. Using these equations, an analysis was made of the impact each clay could have on overall Cu recovery. The results suggest that Ca and Na montmorillonite clays could have a major impact on Cu recovery and that attapulgite and illite clays could have a smaller, but still significant, impact. Kaolinite and ripidolite clays pose little threat to loss of Cu from in situ leaching solutions.