Purification of Pressure Leach Liquor for Zinc Electrowinning - A Comparison of the Hematite and Magnetite Process for Iron Removal

Dixon D R, ; Sparrow G J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
Pressure leach liquors from the pressure oxidation of a bulk flotation concentrate prepared from a complex Cu-Pb-Zn sulphide ore were treated to remove iron, either by pressure oxidation (the Hematite process) or with particles of magnetite (the Magnetite process), followed by cementation of various metals with zinc dust to obtain a purified solution from which zinc was electrowon. Satisfactory iron removal was achieved by both processes after neutralisation to pH 4.5 or 5.5. Pressure oxidation of the liquor at 200¦C and 690 kPa oxygen overpressure, conditions similar to those of the Hematite process used in the zinc industry, resulted in the precipitation of the iron as hematite. With the Magnetite process, an iron hydroxide was precipitated onto magnetite at atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature and removed by a magnetic separation step. The performances of both these processes for the removal of iron are compared. It is concluded that the Magnetite process offers considerable cost savings. Other impurities, in particular arsenic, were also removed with the iron in both processes. Cementation at pH 5.2 and 85-90 ¦C with 3.5 g/L zinc dust reduced the levels of copper, cadmium, and nickel to a satisfactory level and subsequent electrolysis in a laboratory cell gave an acceptable deposit of zinc.
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