The Integration of the Sherritt Zinc Pressure Leach Process With Commercial Iron Precipitation Processes
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1993
Conventional zinc concentrates generally contain 5 to 10% Fe, while bulk concentrates can contain up to 20% Fe. As a result, the disposal of iron bearing residues is an integral part of zinc refining operations. The quality of iron residues must comply with ever changing and increasingly stringent environmental legislation. Zinc has been recovered from sulphide concentrates by a hydrometallurgical route for almost one hundred years. The disposal of iron was a major difficulty for the industry for many decades and was directly responsible for low overall zinc recoveries. The introduction of the jarosite process in the mid 1960's allowed for the treatment of neutral leach residues and the precipitation of iron in an easily filterable form. Subsequently, three additional iron precipitation processes have found commercial application in the zinc industry: the goethite process; the paragoethite process; and the hematite process. The Sherritt Zinc Pressure Leach Process has been developed for integration with existing roast leach electrowin zinc plants, or as a stand alone facility for the treatment of a wide variety of zinc bearing feed materials. It is essential that these processes allow for the disposal of iron residues in an environmentally acceptable form. This paper describes the integration of the Sherritt Zinc Pressure Leach Process with commercially proven iron precipitation processes. The results of laboratory testwork and data from operating plants are presented.