The low grade of copper deposits and the use of the froth flotation process have caused excessive tailing production. In recent years, experts have looked for new alternative methods to improve this situation. Black copper minerals are abundant resources not exploited by large-scale copper mining and possess high Mn concentrations. On the other hand, manganese nodules are submarine resources and show high concentrations of Cu, Ni, Fe, and, mainly, Mn. However, both mineral resources are refractory to conventional leaching processes, and so a reducing agent is necessary for their treatment. We studied the use of tailings obtained from the flotation of foundry slags with a high content of Fe3O4 as reducing agents at different MnO2/tailings ratios and H2SO4 concentrations. Mn dissolution was compared in marine nodule and black copper minerals samples.
It was found that higher Mn dissolutions are obtained from marine nodules, likely due to the acid consumption created by Cu dissolution from black copper minerals. The remnant elements in manganese nodules were leached under an oxidant condition.
Keywords: leaching; reducing agent; MnO2