A Preliminary Study of the Degradation of Lead Anodes in Copper Electrowinning at Mount Gordon

Hoyle, Andrew (2002). A Preliminary Study of the Degradation of Lead Anodes in Copper Electrowinning at Mount Gordon Honours Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hoyle, Andrew
Thesis Title A Preliminary Study of the Degradation of Lead Anodes in Copper Electrowinning at Mount Gordon
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2002
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Nursen Guresin
Bob Hannah
Tom Lancaster
Total pages 196
Language eng
Subjects 091405 Mining Engineering
Formatted abstract
Western Metal’s Mount Gordon Operations is a full hydrometallurgical plant that processes a chalcocite ore by the cutting-edge technology of autoclave leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning. A significant amount of cathode copper plate is impeded with lead impurities due to the anodes degrading in the cells. The degradation of the anode in copper electrowinning can have major implications on the running of a plant.

The literature review revealed several factors that could potentially affect the current efficiency and the degradation rate of the lead anodes. These studies lead to the following hypothesis:

The rate of degradation of anodes can be minimised by changing operational parameters such as temperature, current density and acid concentration in the electrolyte.

To provide a basis for determining possible methods to decrease the degradation rate of the lead anodes, this thesis aims to firstly optimize the laboratory cell for copper electrowinning. It is then planned to find some accurate means of measuring the rate of degradation of anodes in copper electrowinning and to investigate the effects of process parameters on the degradation of anodes at Mount Gordon.

Tests were conducted to measure the effect of current, iron concentration and anode thickness on the anode weight variation, current efficiency and physical appearance of the copper deposit produced in a 5.6L electrowinning cell. XPS was also used to further analyse the corrosion layers.

Iron in the electrolyte was found to effect current efficiency, anode weight variation and copper deposit quality. It was found that additions of iron to the electrolyte between 1 – 2 g/L caused the copper deposit to be smooth and free of nodules.

Keyword Copper Electrowinning

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 28 Nov 2014, 15:35:34 EST by Asma Asrar Qureshi on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service