Removing of Sb and As from Electrolyte in Copper Electrorefining Process: A Green Approach

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran,

2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran

3 Research & Development Center, Shahrbabak Copper Complex, National Iranian Copper Industries Company, Kerman, Iran

4 Supervisor of Copper Electrorefining Operation, Khatoonabad copper refinery, Shahrebabak copper complex, National Iranian copper industries company, Kerman, Iran

5 Senior metallurgical engineer, Process control unit, Khatoonabad copper refinery, Shahrebabak copper complex, National Iranian copper industries company, Kerman, Iran


Removing of arsenic and antimony from electrolyte of copper electrorefining plant by cooling treatment is the subject of current study. In this regards, the temperature of various electrolyte samples reduce to 5, 10, 15 and 20 °C and hold at different times without any turbulency. Experimental results reveal that decreasing the temperature of the electrolyte, facilitate the deposition of As and Sb in the form of AsO5Sb, AsO4Sb and As2O3 as the white precipitate at a critical time. Also, in the case of the electrolyte retention times exceed than the critical time, the copper content of electrolyte precipitate as blue phase. Typically, it is possible to remove 27 wt.% of Sb and 6 wt.% of As by the cooling of the electrolyte to 5 ᵒC after 8 h. It seems that due to the biocompatibility, the lack of need to the complex technology and its simplicity, the proposed method is a suitable alternative to the common approaches for the removal of antimony and arsenic from industrial electrolyte


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