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Recovering Copper from Mill Tailings. Selected Studies.

White-JC; Fergus-AJ; Goff-TN
NTIS: PB 233 417 :21 pages
The purpose of this Bureau of Mines work was to develop information useful in improving copper recovery during copper milling operations. Eleven copper mill tailings from the Western United States were subjected to froth flotation and cyanide leaching to provide an experimental basis for comparing their beneficiation response. Recoveries in flotation concentrates made from mill tailings ranged from 65 to 15 percent, at copper grades of 13 and 2.2 percent, respectively. Liberated copper sulfide minerals present in two samples were readily recovered by laboratory froth flotation. Nine of the samples were less amenable to froth flotation because of physical locking between copper sulfide minerals and gangue. Correlations among tailings indicated that recovery of sulfide copper by flotation was directly related to the sulfide copper content. Empirical equations derived from flotation data provided average values for unrecoverable copper and for recovery efficiency. Flotation response of copper mill tailings may be predicted from the equations. Data from cyanide leaching provides an equation describing the limiting high values for removal of copper by this method.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
RI 7868
NIOSH Division
Source Name
NTIS: PB 233 417
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division