Effects of structural and textural grain characteristics on leaching of sulphide minerals from a polymetallic concentrate by sodium nitrate and sulphuric acid solution
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In this paper, the influence of structural and textural characteristics of sulfide minerals on their leaching from a polymetallic concentrate by sulfuric acid and sodium nitrate solution is presented. The starting material was Pb-Zn-Cu sulphide polymetallic concentrate enriched during the flotation of a polymetallic ore in the "Rudnik" flotation plant (Rudnik - Serbia). Leaching experiments were carried out in a closed glass reactor, which provides stable hermetic conditions and allows heating at constant temperature. Chemical, XRD, qualitative and quantitative microscopic and SEM/EDX analyses were used to characterizes samples of the polymetallic concentrate and leach residue. It was determined that chalcopyrite, sphalerite, galena, pyrrhotite and quartz were present in the polymetallic concentrate. The content of sulphide minerals was 69.5%, of which 60.9% occurred as liberated grains: 88.3% of chalcopyrite, 59.3% of sphalerite, 25.1% of galena and 51.6% of pirrhotite. The rest of ch...alcopyrite, sphalerite, galena and pirrhotite grains were in the forms of inclusions, impregnations, and simple and complex intergrowths. During the leaching process by sodium nitrate and sulphuric acid solution, it was shown previously that the leaching rate of sulphide minerals decreased with time while a part of the sulphide minerals remained in the leach residue. After leaching at 80 degrees C for 120 min, the yields were 69.8, 82.7 and 67.1% for Cu, Zn and Fe, respectively. Lead, in the form of insoluble anglesite, remained in the leach residue. In addition to the anglesite, unleached sulfide minerals and quartz, elemental sulfur was found in the solid residue. The content of sulphide minerals was 35% of which 33.7% minerals occur independently. In specific, 54.7% of chalcopyrite, 31.9% of sphalerite, 8.2% of galena and 37.6% of pyrrhotite appear as separate grains with highly corroded surfaces. Therefore, the structural assembly of sulphide grains in the polymetallic concentrate is favourable and it is not the reason for the observed decrease in the leaching rate in the final process stages. The obtained findings may be explained by the presence of elemental sulphur that is formed during the reaction and precipitated at the grain surfaces, thus creating a diffusion barrier for the leach solution.
Keywords:Polymetallic concentrate / Structural characteristics of sulphide minerals / Leaching
Source:Hemijska industrija, 2017, 71, 6, 461-469
- Savez hemijskih inženjera, Beograd
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