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Leaching of Pyrrhotite from Nickel Concentrate
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Lakning av Magnetkis från Nickelkoncentrat (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Non-oxidative acid leaching of pyrrhotite from Kevitsa’s Ni-concentrate and methods to recover by-products, have been investigated. Selective dissolution of pyrrhotite (Fe1-xS, 0<x<0.25) can enrich the content of the valuable metals, such as Ni and Co, in the final concentrate and will reduce the amount of Fe and S sent to the smelters. The pyrometallurgical smelting of leached concentrate will thus give less formation of smelter by-products in form of slag and SO2. The leaching was studied through an experimental design plan with parameter settings of  38.8% to 57.8% H2SO4 and temperatures from 60 to 100°C. The best results were obtained in experiments carried out at the lower experimental range. Leaching at 60°C with an initial acid concentration of 38.8% H2SO4 was found sufficient to selectively dissolve most of the pyrrhotite; leaving an enriched solid residue. A QEMSCAN analysis of the solid residue confirmed that most of the pyrrhotite had been dissolved and showed that pentlandite was still the main Ni-mineral. Chemical assays showed that more than 95% of the Ni, Co, and Cu remained in the final residue.

   The utilized leaching process generates by-products, in the form of large quantities of Fe2+ in solution and gaseous H2S. To recover Fe2+, crystallization of iron(ii) sulfate (FeSO4∙nH2O) from leach solution through cooling have been studied. The crystallized crystals were further dehydrated into the monohydrate (FeSO4∙H2O) through a strong sulfuric acid treatment (80%H2SO4). XRD analysis confirmed that FeSO4∙H2O was the main phase in the final crystals, and a chemical analysis showed a Fe content of about 30%, 1.5% Mg, 0.4% Ca, and 0.2% Ni.

   The possibility to leach the concentrate by circulating the acidic solution from the crystallization stage has been tested. The recirculation of the solution showed no negative effects, as the recoveries of elements and chemical assays of the final solid residue were found to be similar to the obtained assay when the concentrate was leached in a fresh solution.

Abstract [sv]

Icke-oxidativ syralakning av magnetkis från Kevitsas Ni-koncentrat har studerats samt metoder för tillvaratagande av biprodukter. Genom en selektiv upplösning av magnetkis (Fe1-xS, 0<x<0.25) kan värdefulla metaller som Ni och Co anrikas i det slutliga koncentratet. Samtidigt som mängden Fe och S som skickas till smältverken minskar, vilket också innebär att mindre biprodukter i form av slagg och SO2 erhålls vid den pyrometallurgiska smältningen av Ni-koncentratet. En experimentell design plan genomfördes för att studera lakningen där syrakoncentrationen varierades från 38.8% till 57.8%H2SO4 och temperatur från 60 till 100°C. Bäst resultat erhölls vid de lägre parameterinställningarna. Lakning vid 60°C med en initial syrakoncentration på 38.8%H2SO4 visade sig vara tillräcklig för att selektivt lösa upp merparten av all magnetkis och lämna kvar en anrikad produkt. Via QUEMSCAN bekräftades att merparten av all magnetkis hade löst upp sig och att huvudsakligt Ni-mineral fortfarande var pentlandit. Kemiska analyser visade att mer än 95% av Ni, Co och Cu stannade kvar i fasta godset.

   Den tillämpade lakningsmetoden genererar biprodukter i form av stora mängder Fe2+ i lösning och H2S i gasform. För att tillvarata Fe2+ har kristallisering av laklösning som järn(ii) sulfat (FeSO4∙nH2O) studerats genom kylning. De kristalliserade kristallerna avvattnades till monohydrat, FeSO∙1H2O, genom avvattning i stark svavelsyra (80%H2SO4). XRD bekräftade FeSO∙1H2O som huvudfas i slutliga kristallerna och kemisk analys visade på ca 30%Fe med huvudsakliga orenheter i form av 1.5% Mg, 0.4%Ca och 0.2% Ni.

   Möjligheten till att laka i återcirkulerad lösning efter kristallisering har undersökts. Lakning i återcirkulerad lösning visade inga negativa effekter då liknande halter och utbyten erhölls till det fasta godset.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 60
Keywords [en]
Leaching, Pyrrhotite, Nickel Concentrate, Pentlandite, H2SO4, sulfuric acid, non-oxidative, acid leaching
Keywords [sv]
Lakning, Magnetkis, Nickelkoncentrat, Pentlandit, H2SO4, svavelsyra, icke-oxidativ, syralakning
National Category
Chemical Engineering Mineral and Mine Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64934OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64934DiVA, id: diva2:1129228
External cooperation
Boliden
Educational program
Sustainable Process Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-08-22 Created: 2017-08-01 Last updated: 2017-08-22Bibliographically approved

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