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Leaching Characteristics of Upgraded Copper Flotation Tailings

Authors: Mercy M. Ramakokovhu, Henry Kasaini, Richard K.K. Mbaya


The copper flotation tailings from Konkola Copper mine in Nchanga, Zambia were used in the study. The purpose of this study was to determine the leaching characteristics of the tailings material prior and after the physical beneficiation process is employed. The Knelson gravity concentrator (KC-MD3) was used for the beneficiation process. The copper leaching efficiencies and impurity co-extraction percentages in both the upgraded and the raw feed material were determined at different pH levels and temperature. It was observed that the copper extraction increased with an increase in temperature and a decrease in pH levels. In comparison to the raw feed sample, the upgraded sample reported a maximum copper extraction of 69% which was 9%, higher than raw feed % extractions. The impurity carry over was reduced from 18% to 4 % on the upgraded sample. The reduction in impurity co-extraction was as a result of the removal of the reactive gangue elements during the upgrading process, this minimized the number of side reaction occurring during leaching.

Keywords: Atmospheric leaching, Copper, Iron, Knelson concentrator

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