Use of seawater and discard salts of caliche industry to improve the copper extraction from leaching process
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The objective of this research is to study the acid-nitrate-chloride system in the chalcopyrite leaching process (CuFeS2) in order to propose a hydrometallurgical process that allows the use of salts or discarding solutions from the caliche industry as well as saline discard solutions (such as the rejection solution of the reverse osmosis process) or raw seawater. The methodology used is to use low grade ore, concentrate and pure chalcopyrite samples which are conditioned and leached by stirring, varying concentrations of chloride, solvent, source of nitrate and pretreatment. The system has shown good copper extraction results at atmospheric pressure, over 60% and up to 90%. Salts and discard solutions have been used and it has been proven that they could be alternatives of raw materials in the process. A conditioning stage is essential to accelerate the dissolution kinetics of copper in the systems studied.