Mineralogical characterization of copper lateritic ore from the Furnas deposit - Carajás, Brazil


REM, Int. Eng. J.




Abstract Furnas is a small and not well-known copper sulfide deposit in the northern Carajás mineral province (Pará State, Brazil). Mineralogical and geochemical studies were performed on three weathered samples in order to verify the presence of copper in the lateritic minerals. According to these Cu-bearing minerals (malachite, e.g.), the weathered ore can be exploited. X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Fourier Transformed Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analyses have shown that the copper is mainly associated to cryptomelane and to clay minerals and, although goethite composes from 40 to 50% of the samples (weight %), less than 0.1% of the total Cu is associated to it. Based on the results, the weathering sequence could be established; the alteration processes were responsible for the dissolution of the copper primary sulfides; the Cu released by these sulfides is, afterwards, incorporated in biotites and vermiculites, following the gneiss schistosity. Afterwards, the biotites altered to an interstratified 10-14 Å (biotite-smectite-vermiculite) and subsequently to an Al-Fe-Cu smectite (nontronite); finally, smectite was altered to kaolinite and the Cu was leached.

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