Pressure Leaching of Galena Concentrates To Recover Lead Metal and Elemental Sulfur
Description:As part of the U.S. Bureau of Mines program to improve base metal leach systems, pressure leaching of galena (PbS) concentrates in fluosilicic acid (H2SiF6) solution was investigated. Lead extraction was 93 pct when PbS was pressure leached in H2SiF6 at 95° C with 2OO-psig O2 pressure for 40 min, using ferric nitrate [Fe(N03)3] as a catalyst. The effects of several catalysts, O2 pressure, time, and acid concentration on leaching were determined. The purified leach solution was electrowon to recover high-purity Pb metal. The H2SiF6 used in leaching and electrowinning can be recycled continuously. A flow diagram was proposed based on this investigation. Elemental sulfur (SO) was recovered from the leach residue by solvent extraction. A method was also developed for treating the flnal residue to segregate the important byproduct elements such as Ag, Cu, and Zn and enable their recovery by standard commercial processes.
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