Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


SKIDMORE, Amy1, HAYES, Sarah M.1 and SPRY, Paul G.2, (1)Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 900 Yukon Dr, Rm 194, Fairbanks, AK 99775, (2)Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011,

Essentially all tellurium (Te), an element used in solar panels and other high technology devices, is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining. Recent increases in demand have sparked questions of long-term supplies of Te (crustal abundance ≤ 0.01 mg kg-1). As part of a larger study investigating Te resources, we examined the deportment of Te during Cu smelting and refining as a first step toward optimizing Te recovery. Mass balance calculations estimate that only 27% of the Te in the concentrate remains in the Cu anodes produced by a domestic smelter, while 67% and 11% is lost in the slag and dust, respectively. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) mapping showed that Te has a strong correlation to Fe, S and Cu throughout the smelting and refining process. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was used to examine Te and S speciation in anode slimes. Surprisingly, we found that tellurite (TeIV), rather than telluride as has been previously reported, was the dominant form in our anode samples. Sulfur, also a group 16 element occurring at wt % concentrations, speciation was much more complex with a mixture of species. These results represent an important step in potentially optimizing Te recovery during Cu processing.