Reductive Stripping of Iron (III) from Di (2-ethylhexyl) Phosphoric Acid

Belew, Byron ; Dreisinger, D. B. ; Harlamovs, Juris R. ; Kordosky, G. A. ; O’Keefe, Thomas O. ; Watson, John L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
Unwanted impurities, present in raw materials, are often coextracted along with desired constituents during leaching. Due to its abundance and ease of extraction, the presence of ferric iron in leach solutions, solvent extraction circuits, and subsequently in electrowinning circuits, has always been a problem. In the case of zinc hydrometallurgical processing, iron is frequently an impurity in leach solutions. Purification of such solutions by solvent extraction, using di (2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (D2EHPA) in a kerosene diluent, results in ferric ions being readily extracted along with zinc into the organic phase. Ferric iron has proven difficult to strip from the organic phase, but it is known that ferrous iron may be easily stripped from D2EHPA, and hence a process to effect reduction of iron present in the organic would have great potential. This research investigated a process to directly reduce ferric to ferrous iron in the organic phase, and to strip the ferrous iron using a dilute acid solution. The process utilized metallic zinc as the reductant and a low concentration sulfuric acid stripping solution. The results of the laboratory tests illustrated that iron could be readily removed from the organic phase by simultaneous direct reduction and acid stripping. The reductive stripping process was subsequently utilized in industry at the laboratory and pilot plant levels. The results of the industrial tests were encouraging and demonstrated the potential of this novel concept.
Full Article Download:
(441 kb)