Covellite is a secondary copper sulfide, and it is not abundant. There are few investigations on this mineral in spite of it being formed during the leaching of chalcocite or digenite; the other investigations on covellite are with the use of mineraloids, copper concentrates, and synthetic covellite. The present investigation applied the surface optimization methodology using a central composite face design to evaluate the effect of leaching time, chloride concentration, and sulfuric acid concentration on the level of copper extraction from covellite (84.3% of purity). Copper is dissolved from a sample of pure covellite without the application of temperature or pressure; the importance of its purity is that the behavior of the parameters is analyzed, isolating the impurities that affect leaching. The chloride came from NaCl, and it was effectuated in a size range from –150 to +106 μm. An ANOVA indicated that the leaching time and chloride concentration have the most significant influence, while the copper extraction was independent of sulfuric acid concentration. The experimental data were described by a highly representative quadratic model obtained by linear regression (R2 = 0.99).
- Secondary sulfide
- Sulfide leaching