Project title: Simulation of the solid/liquid interface for Chalcopyrite Leaching
Supervisors: Patricia Hunt and Nicholas Harrison
One of the most abundant copper-bearing minerals is chalcopyrite (CuFeS2*). Due to high world demand for copper, copper recovery is now being attempted from very low grade ores using a leaching process. However, current recovery rates and yields are very low. This is thought to be due to a passivation layer that forms on exposure during leaching. The aim of the project is to develop computational tools capable of modelling surface passivation in the liquid leaching environment, with the ultimate aim of providing strategies to increase copper yields and rates of recovery. The project is undertaken in the context of a much larger combined theoretical and experimental 5-year programme of research partly funded by Rio-Tinto.
 E.M. Cordoba, J.A. Munoz, M.L. Blazquez, F. Gonzalez, and A. Ballester. Hydrometallurgy, 93:81, 2008.