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Chemistry Open Book Paper - Extracting Copper From Its Ore.

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CHEMISTRY OPEN BOOK PAPER Extracting Copper from its ore. Low-grade ore is piled on specially treated impermeable ground for ease later to drain away the Cu ion solution. The bacteria can then be sprayed on requiring acidic conditions, a supply of Fe2+ and S2- ions, oxygen; carbon dioxide; and nitrogen and phosphorous containing nutrients. Thiobacillius ferro-oxidans and Thiobacillius thio-oxidans, gain energy to live by oxidising Fe2+ ions and S2- ions respectively. In effect they release the required metal ions into solution. The copper ion solution can now be drained off and the copper ions removed using another solvent in a Ligand Exchange Reaction. Ligand = compound with a lone pair of electrons which binds with metal compounds to form a complex. [2] The ligand can be dissolved in an organic solvent (such as kerosene) which is immiscable in water. Cu2+(aq) + 2LH (organic) CuL2 (organic) + 2H+ (aq) The copper is removed from a low concentration in water to a high concentration in the organic solvent. ...read more.


The oxidation is carried out by Sulpholobus acidocalderius in the presence of O2 and H2O at a low pH. Firstly S. acidocalderius catalyses formation of Fe, As and sulphur compounds. FeAsS --> Fe (II) + As (III) +S (VI) The As and S have been oxidised in this reaction. Secondly further oxidation of Fe (II) and As (III) occurs: Fe (II) -->Fe (III) As (III) --> As (V) All the products are water-soluble. 2FeAsS + 7O2 +4H+ + 2H2O --> 2Fe3+ +2H3AsO4 + 2HSO4- The gold is still solid after separation from liquid (which contains Fe, As and S) The pH is raised by lime, then the gold is ready to be extracted using the method of Cyanidation. Ions form a soluble complex of gold, which is suitable for electrolysis to isolate the pure gold. Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Bacterial Leaching. Biologically, leaching is cheaper, however delay due to the slow process means it is expensive. ...read more.


[3] Once again referring back to location - the site of the plant must be in within a reasonably close proximity to a market. The cost of transporting the material vast distances can otherwise be a disadvantage. Other raw Materials and Machinery - The materials needed to extract the product must also be considered. Such essentials such as water may prove to be vital therefore the availability of possible raw materials must be available in large quantities. Machinery must be available and cost effective. Effect on the environment and the people surrounding the site. The effect of setting up a plant will increase employment and will attract people to the location. In some cases this may not be accepted - such as in a quiet country village. Stages 1. A chemist first discovers and invents a process in the lab. 2. A pilot scheme can then be set up to see how successful the idea is in practise. 3. The cost of the operation must then be put to consideration. 4. If all these targets can be satisfied then the procedure may begin. ...read more.

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