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Leaching of sphalerite using hydrogen peroxide in sulphuric acid media

Latif, Shams (2017) Leaching of sphalerite using hydrogen peroxide in sulphuric acid media. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The zinc extraction from ground sphalerite using hydrogen peroxide in sulphuric acid media was studied. This particular area has been chosen to be studied because in the literature, little was found on understanding the behaviour of leaching using different types of acids and oxidants. Sphalerite holds a significant importance in the minerals industry, hence it is worth investigating the influence of various factors on zinc extractability. The factors tested include temperature (90-170 oC), hydrogen peroxide concentration (0.46, 0.69, and 1.37 M), sulphuric acid concentration (0.05, 0.25 M), and particle size (38-53, 53-106, and 106-150 μm) over 420 minutes. The effect of pyrite addition on sphalerite dissolution was also investigated. A methodology has been designed and carried out using batch reactors and analytical instruments to obtain zinc extraction results. Optimal conditions were established at 0.25 M H2SO4, 0.685 M H2O2, 38-53 μm, and 90 oC temperature over 420 minutes, with no pyrite addition; these conditions lead to 87 % zinc extraction. Another set of conditions was also found to yield 86 % when 53-106 μm particle size was used at 130 oC over 240 min. It was found that applying temperatures between 150-170 oC, using maximum hydrogen peroxide concentration levels, and pyrite addition lead to adverse effects on the recovery of zinc. Lower recoveries obtained as a result of higher temperatures were explained by the formation of sulphur passivation layer when analysed.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Xia, Fang
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