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Validation of electrolyte conductivity models in industrial copper electrorefining

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2018, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 117-124

Lehtiniemi, I.; Kalliomaki, T.; Rintala, L.; Latostenmaa, P.; Aromaa, J.; Forsen, O.; Lundstrom, M.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.19150/mmp.8460


Conductivity is a typical physico-chemical property that has a substantial effect on electrical energy consumption in the electrorefining process. The objective of this study was to examine the validity of regression models predicting the conductivity of industrial copper electrorefining electrolytes. The models were based on data measured with synthetic solutions on a laboratory scale. The variables included in the models were temperature and the concentrations of copper, nickel, arsenic and sulfuric acid. Both first-order and combined effects of the variables were investigated. The measured data were analyzed using MODDE 8.0 modeling and design software. The validity of the models was investigated by comparing the predicted values with tankhouse conductivity measurements taken at the Boliden Harjavalta Copper Refinery in Pori in Finland. During the tankhouse tests, the conductivity and temperature of the industrial electrolyte were measured, and the composition of the electrolyte was analyzed. The measured conductivity values were compared with the predicted conductivities calculated using the developed models. The conductivity model developed in this paper was shown to be more accurate than previous models and suitable for industrial use.