Characterization And Batch Testing Of A Secondary Lead Slag

Lewis, A. E.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The emphasis of this paper is on the characterization and testing of the slag produced by a secondary lead refinery. This work forms part of a broader investigation aimed at reducing loss of valuable product from the process as well as minimizing the environmental impact of the process wastes. It was this work that led to a critical examination of the standard waste classification tests. Characterization of the slag was carried out using a number of complementary techniques. In the broader context, the slag characterization aided in identifying process deficiencies and thus was a critical tool in suggesting potential for process optimization. For this study, the slag characterization provided a relatively comprehensive picture of the composition and properties of the slag, which facilitated understanding the behaviour of the slag under batch test conditions. On the basis of quantity of hazardous components alone, the slag is hazardous according to South African Acceptable Risk Limits (ARL). However, when both the quantity and the leach potential of the hazardous components is taken into account, standard waste tests carried out by three independent agencies indicate that the slag should not be classified as hazardous according to local regulations. Also, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) limits, which are independent of the quantity of the waste, the slag would not be classified as hazardous. The standard waste tests used by the independent agencies was the Toxicity Characteristic Leach Procedure (TCLP), a test which was developed by the US EPA to classify hazardous wastes. One of the requirements of this batch test is that it should be quick, simple to carry out and that the results should be reproducible. Previously, the applicability of the TCLP test to mineral processing and metallurgical wastes has been challenged on a number of points. Additional testing of the slag was carried out using both the TCLP and the Synthetic Precipitation Leach Procedure (SPLP) recommended by the American National Mining Association as being more appropriate for mineral processing wastes. The particular physical and chemical characteristics of the secondary lead slag highlighted additional limitations of both the TCLP and SPLP tests as standard laboratory batch procedures. Keywords: environmental protection, secondary lead processing, slag, leach testing, TCLP, SPLP, ARL, hazardous waste, batch tests
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