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Sulfuric acid baking and leaching of rare earth elements, thorium and phosphate from a monazite concentrate: Effect of bake temperature from 200 to 800 °C

Demol, J., Ho, E. and Senanayake, G. (2018) Sulfuric acid baking and leaching of rare earth elements, thorium and phosphate from a monazite concentrate: Effect of bake temperature from 200 to 800 °C. Hydrometallurgy, 179 . pp. 254-267.

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Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hydromet.2018.06.002
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Abstract

Monazite, a rare earth and thorium bearing phosphate mineral, is one of the major minerals used for the production of rare earth elements. Although sulfuric acid baking is one of the main processing routes for extraction of rare earth elements from monazite, the chemistry involved is not well understood. In this study, a combination of chemical analysis and standard characterisation techniques (XRD, SEM-EDS, FT-IR and TG-DSC) was used to identify reaction processes occurring during the sulfuric acid baking of monazite between 200 and 800 °C. The effects of these reactions on the leachability of the rare earths, thorium and phosphate were also examined. It was observed that the sulfation reaction of monazite with acid was virtually complete after baking at 250 °C for 2 h, resulting in >90% solubilisation of rare earth elements, thorium and phosphate. After baking at 300 °C, a thorium phosphate type precipitate was formed during leaching, leading to a sharp decrease in extraction of thorium and phosphate, but the leaching of rare earth elements reached nearly 100%. The EDS and FT-IR analyses of this precipitate were indicative of a thorium pyrophosphate. As the bake temperature was further increased to 400–500 °C, extraction of thorium, phosphorus and the rare earth elements decreased due to formation of insoluble thorium-rare earth polyphosphates. The formation of these polyphosphates is thought to be related to dehydration of orthophosphoric acid produced in the initial reaction of monazite with sulfuric acid. Between 650 and 800 °C, monazite was partially re-formed, leading to a further decrease in rare earth extraction to 55%. The re-forming of monazite appeared to be due to a reaction between the thorium-rare earth polyphosphates and rare earth sulfates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41217
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