Preparation of Titanium Feedstock From Minnesota Ilmenite by Smelting and Sulfation-Leaching
Description:As part of its program to help decrease the dependency of the United States on foreign imports of nonfuel minerals and to devise technology for the efficient and economic use of domestic resources, the Bureau of Mines smelted and sulfation-leached an ilmenite from northern Minnesota. The objective was to assess the feasibility of preparing chlorination-grade titanium feedstock. The concentrate was smelted with woodchips, coke, and soda ash in 91-kg-and 1-metric ton (mt)-capacity electric arc furnaces to form Ti-rich slag and commercial-grade pig iron. The slag contained from 67 to 77 wt pct titanium oxides and from 1.8 to 7.2 wt pct iron. Sulfation occurred in a 4.5-kg/h moving-bed reactor using S02-air mixtures at temperatures of 8000 to 8500 C to form soluble salts of the Ca, Mg, Mn,and Na impurities, which cause plugging of fluidized-bed chlorinators. Subsequently, the sulfated slag was leached in acid to remove the soluble sulfates. The final product from small-scale testing contained up to 95.5 wt pct Ti02, a minimum of 0.6 wt pct Fe, and a minimum total of 0.3 wt pct of the four impurities of interest. The final product meets charge specifications for chlorination. However, more large-scale testing is necessary.
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