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Chloride leaching of a complex matte: comparison of oxidants

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2009, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 49-54

Kim, H.I.; Park, K.H.; Mohapatra, D.


 The leaching of a complex matte in chlorine and chloride media was studied. The matte was prepared from manganese nodules by the reduction smelting-sulfidation route. From XRD analysis, the major phases of the matte were identified as CuFeS2, CuS2, (FeNi)9S8, (FeNi)S2, Ni9S8, Ni3S2, (CoFeNi)9S8 and Co metal. Investigated were the chlorine, hydrochloric acid, hydrochloric acid-oxygen, ferric chloride, ferric chloride-oxygen, cupric chloride and cupric chloride-oxygen systems. The results are discussed in terms of reagent concentration, retention time, leach temperature and gas sparging rate. The chlorination process resulted >99% metal extraction efficiency within a short retention time and at atmospheric temperature. However, there were no preferential extractions of Cu, Ni and Co with respect to Fe. The cupric chloride-oxygen system produced leach liquors with the lowest Fe content and with a high base-metal extraction. Sulfide sulfur was converted to mixtures of elemental sulfur and sulfate in all the studied systems.