A new hydrometallurgical processing route for copper recycling

Jul 24, 2019 | Process simulation

Discover the abstract of the paper presented at Copper 2019 conference.

The aim of the European CEReS project was to develop an innovative copper recycling route based on the coprocessing of coal production waste by bioleaching and printed card boards (PCB) from Wastes of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Coal waste is processed by bioleaching in stirred tank reactors, and the resulting bio-lixiviant solution is used to extract copper from PCB pre-treated by catalytic cracking. Copper is then extracted using solvent extraction, stripping and electrowinning. The whole process flowsheet combines thermal, biotechnological, physical and hydrometallurgical operations.

Once the process concept has been validated at laboratory scale, a simulator of the whole process has been built in the USIM PAC software platform. The tool enables to improve the analysis of the results of the lab-scale experiments and to design industrial-scale scenarios by simulation. The results of such simulations allow to estimate the economical interest and to perform environmental impact assessment.

After presentation of the CEReS project objectives and main results, the paper describes the methodology used to build the simulator and define the scenarios corresponding to feasible process routes. The main results of the simulations are then presented with technical, economic and environmental point of views. 

Abstract of the paper presented at Copper 2019 conference – August 18-21, 2019 – Vancouver – Canada


  • Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray, CASPEO
  • Marie-Véronique Durance, CASPEO
  • Etienne Braak, CASPEO
  • Anne-Gwenaëlle Guezennec, BRGM

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