Adsorption of Polyamine Chelated Copper Ions Onto Gangue Minerals and High Capacity Adsorbents

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Cushing, Alexander
Adsorption , Mineral Processing , Tailings , Copper , Mining , Flotation , Chelate , Polyamine
The effluent quality from mining & processing operations is monitored to ensure that maximum allowable limits are not exceeded. Recently, copper concentration levels in the effluent discharge flows of a copper and nickel mining company in Ontario have indicated increasing trends. A chemical particular to the problem is use of diethylenetriamine (DETA) in the process. Adsorption tests were conducted to investigate the ability of various adsorbents to remove and retain copper complexed with DETA and triethylenetetramine (TETA) in solutions. The tests were divided into two sections: gangue adsorbents (silica and pyrrhotite) and high capacity adsorbents (natural bentonite, peat, zeolite Y and zeolite ZSM-5). Pyrrhotite as a sulphide gangue had a greater adsorption capacity than silica for the concentration range studied. At 1 ppm initial concentration, over 80% of copper chelate was removed by minus 400 mesh pyrrhotite compared to 72% of the same size silica. Freundlich and Langmuir isotherm models of adsorption are applicable. However, the Langmuir adsorption isotherm was found to more closely represent the experimental data with a maximum adsorption capacity of 129.9 μg/g for copper complexed with DETA on pyrrhotite. For the high capacity adsorbents, natural bentonite, zeolite Y and peat each worked well at removing the copper chelates. Zeolite Y had the highest capacity for copper chelates and a maximum adsorption capacity of 55.9 mg/g. Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption isotherm models were studied with the Langmuir isotherm model more closely representing the experimental data. iii Studies were also conducted on the effect of temperature. This led to a thermodynamic analysis of adsorption and estimation of activation energies. The standard free energies estimated for adsorption of copper chelated on adsorbents studied were nearly always negative, typically varying from around -2 kJ/mol to -7 kJ/mol with increasing temperature. The activation energy was found to be highest for the natural bentonite system suggesting a strong adsorption (e.g. 40.5 kJ/mol for CuTETA). Desorption experiments on the peat indicated very poor reversal for the process, confirming that the adsorption of copper chelates on high capacity adsorption was indeed very strong. Settling experiments indicated copper chelates were highly effective as coagulants on bentonite.
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