Chemical dissolution of sulfide minerals

Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
By:  and 



Chemical dissolution treatments involving the use of aqua regia, 4 N HNO3, H2O2-ascorbic acid, oxalic acid, KClO3+HCl, and KClO3+HCl followed by 4 N HNO3 were applied to specimens of nine common sulfide minerals (galena, chalcopyrite, cinnabar, molybdenite, orpiment, pyrite, stibnite, sphalerite, and tetrahedrite) mixed individually with a clay loam soil. The resultant decrease in the total sulfur content of the mixture, as determined by using the Leco induction furnace, was used to evaluate the effectiveness of each chemical treatment. A combination of KClO3+HCl followed by 4 N HNO3 boiling gently for 20 min has been shown to be very effective in dissolving all the sulfide minerals. This treatment is recommended to dissolve metals residing in sulfide minerals admixed with secondary weathering products, as one step in a fractionation scheme whereby metals in soluble and adsorbed forms, and those associated with organic materials and secondary oxides, are first removed by other chemical extractants.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Chemical dissolution of sulfide minerals
Series title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Volume 5
Issue 4
Year Published 1977
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 4 p.
First page 409
Last page 412
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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