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Formation of hydrogen peroxide by chalcopyrite and its influence on flotation

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 212-219

Javadi Nooshabadi, A.; Hanumantha Rao, K.


Formation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), an oxidizing agent stronger than oxygen, by chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), which is a copper iron sulfide mineral, during grinding, was investigated. It was observed that chalcopyrite generated H2O2 in pulp liquid during wet grinding and also in the solids when placed in water immediately after dry grinding. The generation of H2O2 during either wet or dry grinding was thought to be due to a reaction between chalcopyrite and water where the mineral surface is catalytically active in producing •OH free radicals by breaking down the water molecule. The effect of pH in the grinding medium or in the water in which solids are added immediately after dry grinding showed that the lower the pH value, the higher the H2O2 generation. When chalcopyrite and pyrite are mixed in different proportions, the formation of H2O2 was seen to increase with increasing pyrite fraction in the mixed composition. The results of H2O2 formation in pulp liquid of chalcopyrite and together with pyrite at different experimental conditions have been explained by Eh-pH diagrams of these minerals. This study highlights the necessity of revisiting the electrochemical and/or galvanic interaction mechanisms between the chalcopyrite and pyrite in terms of their flotation behavior.