Oxygen Potentials and Slag-Matte Reactions in the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter

Rankin W J, ; Waladan M, ; Elliot B,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
A survey was undertaken on the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter in which samples of slag and matte were taken along the length of the integrated flash smelting furnace and analysed to determine the variation of nickel and iron concentration. At the same time the oxygen potential of the slag and matte was measured using disposable tip solid-state oxygen probes. The results show that the oxygen potential of the slag is higher than that of the matte and that both decrease from the reaction shaft end to the slag tap hole end of the furnace. The slag and matte are not at equilibrium except towards the tap hole end. Reduction of nickel and magnetite from the slag occurs before the slag enters the slag-cleaning appendage by reaction with iron in the matte. Thermodynamic modelling and laboratory experiments showed that the equilibrium nickel and magnetite contents of the slag in the absence of a carbonaceous reducing agent are about 0.4 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively. A carbonaceous reductant is required to obtain a lower nickel content in the slag.
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