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Treatment of Copper Smelting and Refining Wastes
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  • Description:
    The domestic primary copper industry generates in excess of 600 million t of mining and mineral-processing waste annually. Most of the waste poses negligible environmental threat, but a small fraction, because of toxic or corrosive characteristics, may be subject to regulation under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or other pertinent regulations. Among the wastes generated by various copper producers are flue dusts, slags, refinery-bleed solutions, and. acid-plant wastes. The U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) has researched methods to mitigate the environmental threat posed by copper-processing wastes while recovering valuable metals from these materials. Acid-leach processing of flue dusts has been demonstrated feasible along with sulfide treatment of liquid refinery wastes and acid-plant-bleed and gas-cleaning solutions to precipitate dissolved metals. In, addition, the feasibility of removing copper and molybdenum from slag, as well as stabilization of precipitated sulfide wastes by vitrification, have been investigated.

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