Anode-support system for the direct electrorefining of cement copper Part III: Pretreatment and process conditions to refine industrial cement
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This paper describes the final part of a study on the utilization of a special anode-support system for the electrorefining of industrial cement copper produced by small mines. This type of cement is obtained from the leaching solutions of copper oxide minerals by precipitation with iron scrap. The cement is highly contaminated with iron, different metallic and non-metallic compounds and chloride. Therefore it is necessary to purify the cement copper before the electrorefining process. A two-stage method of purification is proposed, washing with water (pH4) to eliminate chloride and soluble species and magnetic removal of the metallic iron. A circular cell provided with an annular AISI-316 stainless steel mesh supporting the mass of cement copper was utilized. A vertical rotary cylinder of AISI-316 stainless steel was used as the cathode. As operating conditions, a solution of CuSO4.5H2O: 150gdm-3 and H2SO4: 50gdm-3, jc: 5.0Adm-2, T: 40°C, u: 60rpm, were used. A cement copper of 85% purity was utilized. Under these recommended operating conditions it is possible to obtain copper sheets of good quality, meeting the ASTM B-11591 specification for commercial cathodes.
KeywordsCopper Oxide Metallic Iron Stainless Steel Mesh Copper Sheet Soluble Species
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