A chemical compound containing sulfur and one other element or sulfur and a radical. Sulfides may be salts or esters of hydrogen sulfide, or may be formed directly by heating a metal with sulfur. Metal bearing materials like ores of copper, lead and zinc usually contain the metal sulfide.
While the leaching of metals and oxide minerals has been practised for a relatively long time, the leaching of sulfide minerals has only begun in relatively recent times. Most sulfidic minerals are treated with pyrometallurgical methods or through pyrometallurgical pre-treatment, for example by means of roasting into oxides or sulfates followed by hydrometallurgical metal extraction. Direct leaching of sulfide minerals, however, does occur on an industrial scale and there is great interest in expanding this technique.
Sulfides can be leached by many methods. Bioleaching is almost exclusively done on sulfides.
|Sulfide minerals of interest with respect to hydrometallurgy|