Research in Pressure Leaching

Pawlek, Franz E.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 23
Publication Date: Unavailable
Synopsis This is a summary of investigations in the field of pressure leaching carried out at the Institute for Extractive Metallurgy of the Technical University of Berlin-West during the last seven years. The efficient dispersion of gas in a liquid and its dissolutions as well as the events at the phase boundary when leaching ZnS are reported. At the end two examples are given for the use of pressure leaching in the processing of smelter by-products. INTRODUCTION About 20 years ago, experiments were independently started in Canada and in Berlin on the subject of dissolving sulfidic ores without preliminary treatment by means of leaching under increased oxygen pressure. In Canada ammoniacal solutions were mainly employed, and F. A. Forward and his co-workers were successful in applying this process on a large industrial scale1, 2. This process is used in Fort Saskatchewan to produce about 15,000 tons of Ni per year. In Berlin, investigations were started on leaching with acid solutions3, 4. This process had also been used on a large industrial scale in the D.S.A., but the choice of unfavourable working conditions led to great difficulties, and to giving up this process for industrial use. Later on in Berlin work was carried out especially on the kinetics of pressure leaching 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and its applications to the processing of smelter by-products, in particular of mattes and speisses10, 11, 12, 13, 14. The dissolution of ores and by-products can be subdivided into four steps: 1. the efficient dispersion of the gas, so that its dissolution occurs over as great a surface area as possible, since only the dissolved oxygen reacts with the solid, 2. the suspension of the solid, so that the entire surface can take part in the reaction, 3. the phase boundary reaction, 4. the removal of the reaction products. The first two steps belong to the field of process engineering and will be discussed from this point of view. The aim of these experiments15 was to find out first of all the limits of efficiency of self-sucking stirrers in solutions of low viscosity with regard to the mass transfer. In addition, the effect of ultrasonics in the same reaction system was studied. The experiments were carried out in a lucite container as shown in Fig. 1. Four baffles of 0.1 d width were in the stirring vessel. The height of these baffles was adjustable. For every experiment one litre of liquid was used. An infinitely variable direct current motor, which was fixed with a hollow shaft, served as the driving power for the stirrer.
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