Reverse engineering Nature: metal extraction through mineral replacement.

  • Pring, Allan S. (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Brugger, Joel (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Harmer-Bassell, Sarah (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Gibson, Christopher T. (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Grguric, Benjamin (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Ehrig, Kathy (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

In nature at the top of ore deposits, just below the water-table is a region known as the supergene zone. Here mild oxidizing reactions take place causing primary ore minerals such as chalcopyrite to be replaced by more copper-rich, less refractory minerals. These processes are driven by dissolution reprecipitation reactions (CDR reactions) and in many CDR reactions, the reaction mechanism, rather than intensive properties such as pressure and temperature, control the nature of the products and the overall reaction kinetics. This project will explore the mechanism and controls on these reactions to see if they can be utilized in the mining industry to economically extract copper from low grade ores.
Effective start/end date1/03/1828/02/21