Beneficiation of alunite by pyro- and hydrometallurgical treatment of alunite-K2CO3 mixtures
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2000
High-temperature roasting of alunite in the presence of K2CO3 gives rise to a reaction that results in up to an 80% recovery of its potassium content as K2SO4 by leaching of the roasted mixture. K2SO4 is also generated from the reaction between the added K2CO3 and the SO3 driven off during roasting of the alunite. This limits the environmental and corrosive problems involved in the thermal treatment of this mineral. A solid residue containing mainly aluminum oxide is also obtained. This could be used as raw material for the production of aluminum, as the use of K2CO3 does not introduce different cations than are in the ore. A statistical study was performed on the factors assumed to affect the recovery of potassium, namely, roasting temperature, K2CO3- alunite stoichiometric ratio and leaching temperature.