High-Temperature Cyanide Leaching of Platinum-Group Metals From Automobile Catalysts-Pilot Plant Study
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines Reno Research Center investigated, developed, and patented a high-temperature cyanide leaching process for recovering platinum-group metals (PGM) from automobile catalysts. A batch pilot plant was constructed at the center and operated to demonstrate this technology to industry. Approximately 1,600 kg of used pellet, monolith, and metal support catalysts containing 1,700 g (54 tr oz) of PGM was processed. Forty-five-kilogram batches of used catalysts were leached with sodium cyanide solution at 160°C for 1 h in a countercurrent processing sequence. This selectively dissolved the PGM. Average extractions from the used pellet catalyst were 96 pet Pt, 95 pct Pd, and 73 pct Rh. Average extractions from the used monolith catalyst were 84 pct Pt, 81 pct Pd, and 66 pet Rh. Heating the pregnant leach solutions to 275°C for 4 h destroyed the PGM-cyanide complexes, causing over 99.7 pct of the PGM to precipitate from solution. The PGM precipitate was predominantly a metallic powder concentrate, typically analyzing greater than 50 pct PGM. Heating destroyed the cyanide to less than 0.2 mg/L free and total cyanide. Both the pellet and monolith residues were evaluated for disposal using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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