H2SO4 In Copper Mining

Copper is obtained by the extraction of copper sulfide ores, which have a copper content of ~ 2 wt%. The raw metal production includes a wide variety of process steps.

LiquiSonic® Enables A Reduction Of Labor Cost Through The Elimination Of Manual Process Steps


The processing of copper sulfide ores is carried out by flotation. Thereby, crushed copper sulfide ores are enriched with water and a foaming agent, to skim quartz or silicates. The obtained copper concentrate has a copper content of 20 - 40 wt%.

In the pyrometallurgical extraction, SO2 is generated which is oxidized with atmospheric oxygen to form sulfur trioxide SO3 (contact process). What remains is a copper content of approx. 96-99 wt%. In order to reach a purity of 99.99 wt%, a electrolytic refining takes place subsequently. Otherwise, the impurities strongly influence the thermal and electrical conductivity and quality of copper.

In the pyrometallurgical extraction, the copper concentrate is slagged by adding SiO2 in the furnace at 1200 to 1400 °C. The melt of copper and iron sulfide is removed as the so-called copper matte from the slag phase. 

The liquid copper matte is poured into a converter and the iron sulfide reacts with air to sulfur dioxide SO2. Resulting SO2 is oxidized to sulfur trioxide SO3 (contact process), which SO3 is directed into sulfuric acid (96 wt%). In the absorber, sulfuric acid in high concentrations by adding water or oleum is generated. In the blending process, the H2SO4 is diluted on desired target concentration.

© 2020 SensoQuad. All Rights Reserved. Powered by E-AD