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Direct sulfuric acid leaching of zinc sulfide concentrate using ozone as oxidant under atmospheric pressure

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2018, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 133-140

Mubarok, M.Z.; Sukamto, K.; Ichlas, Z.T.; Sugiarto, A.T.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.19150/mmp.8462


The use of ozone as an oxidant for the direct leaching of zinc sulfide (sphalerite) concentrate in sulfuric acid medium under atmospheric pressure was explored. The influence of acid concentration, feed gas injection rate, particle size distribution, stirring speed, temperature and slurry density on zinc extraction efficiency was examined. The experimental results showed that the leaching efficiency depends on all of these operating parameters except for stirring speed. It was found that essentially complete dissolution of zinc from the concentrate with the present method can be achieved in only about seven hours under the conditions of sulfuric acid concentration of 2 mol/L, particle size smaller than 74 µm, slurry density of 50 g/L, stirring speed of 420 rpm and feed gas injection rate of 1 L/min at ambient temperature. The experimental results suggest that the dissolution reactions produce independent elemental sulfur that is readily floated and can be easily separated rather than forming a layer on the surface of the reacted particle, as usually observed in a system with ferric-sulfate as oxidizing agent. It was therefore determined that the dissolved ozone play a key role in improving the rate of zinc dissolution from the concentrate. Analysis of the leaching kinetics indicate that the leaching rate follows the shrinking particle model, and the overall dissolution rate of zinc is controlled by a surface reaction.