Committee Chair

Henry, Jim

Committee Member

Jones, Frank; Kutz, Douglas

Department

Dept. of Civil and Chemical Engineering

College

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Mining industry is heavily invested in mining various precious metals from their natural ore deposits. Copper ore deposits are found across the world and heap leaching of copper has been implemented effectively for years. The ore is broken down to copper ions and elemental sulfur in the heap. Acid plants are used in mines to replenish the raffinate leaching the heaps which consists of sulfuric acid. Molten sulfur carried in rail cars to the acid plant is often accidentally spilled on the ground. The contaminated sulfur cannot be added to the acid plant and has been disposed of as hazardous waste at a high cost. This study tests the effects of adding waste sulfur to the leaching heaps to observe any inhibitory effects or even potential benefits towards bioleaching that occurs within the heap. The study done examines the behavior of the waste sulfur within columns used to simulate mine heap conditions. Shake flask tests were also run to observe the potential effects with increased aeration. The study concluded that there were no harmful effects observed towards leaching with the addition of the waste sulfur. This project has been useful to the company to recommend the final placement of the acid plant sulfur and the potential for acid generation if placed in the heap.

Degree

M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.

Date

3-2012

Subject

Heap leaching

Keyword

Heap leaching

Discipline

Chemical Engineering | Engineering | Geotechnical Engineering

Document Type

Masters theses

Extent

iv, 37 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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