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Copper arsenide is a compound of copper and arsenic. The crystalline form is bluish-green and insoluble in water and alcohol but soluble in aqueous ammonium and dilute acids. It is used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide. It is also a rodenticide and poison in slug baits.
The molecular weight of the copper arsenide formula is 57.02 g/mol (calculated on the basis of the number of atoms of each element in the formula). The chemical formula is Cu3(AsO4)2*4H2O, or tricopper arsenate.
A new X-ray crystal structure of Rb3Cu3As2 has been reported, and first-principles calculations confirm the charge-balanced composition (Rb+)3(Cu+)3(As3-)2, placing this compound in a broad field of Zintl phases.
Scorodite is a mineral formed from iron minerals that oxidize at room temperature and under ambient conditions; it can contain up to 20-25% As and can be stable in a range of pH values from 2.0-6.0 . It can be deposited in hydrometallurgical plants and allows for the recovery of copper, acid and water.
Atmospheric leaching of enargite is a traditional method of hydrometallurgical treatment, but it can release toxic arsenic species. There are several alternative methods, including sulphidization roasting and halogenation, sulphate reduction roasting to gaseous arsenic sulfide and carbothermic reduction to copper arsenide.
Effluent solution treatment is a process that can be incorporated in hydrometallurgical plants, where the arsenic content can be fixed in a confined area as scorodite. This can allow the recovery of water, acid and copper, which are currently lost due to high arsenic concentration. The process can be carried out in leach columns loaded with a heap mineral with varying pH levels and solution potentials. The concentrations of arsenic and iron in the solution decrease and are then retained in the solid residue, thus allowing for their disposal in a confined and environmentally safe area.