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Economic Evaluation of a Process for Ferric Chloride Leaching of Chalcopyrite Concentrate.

Phillips TA
NTIS: PB 252 000 :22 pages
The Bureau of Mines presents an economic evaluation of its process for the ferric chloride leaching of chalcopyrite concentrate. In this process, chalcopyrite concentrate is leached with ferric chloride solution to extract copper, which is precipitated from the solution by electrolysis while leaving sulfur in the residue. Spend liquor from electrolysis is treated with oxygen to regenerate the ferric chloride leach solution and the sulfur-laden residue is processed to recover the sulfur. A cost estimate was prepared for a plant capable of processing 600 tons of chalcopyrite concentrate per day, 330 days per year. The fixed capital cost, on an early 1975 basis, is $27,831,600 and the estimated operating cost is 9.9 Cents per pound of copper product. In comparison, the estimated operating cost of a smelter equipped with a citrate process plant to recover sulfur is about 13.6 Cents per pound of copper product. No charge for chalcopyrite concentrate or credit for recovered byproducts has been included in either operating cost. The ferric chloride leach process, therefore, appears to be economically attractive.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Information Circular;
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
IC 8699
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 252 000
Page last reviewed: November 26, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division