Zinc plant residue (ZPR) is a secondary material generated during hydrometallurgical zinc production that contains considerable contents of valuable elements such as Zn, Cu, Fe, Pb, Cd, Ag, In, Ga, Tl. Zinc, copper and accompanying elements in ZPR are in different minerals, mainly in the ferrites. A promising approach for recycling ZPR is the sulfating roasting using iron sulfates followed by water leaching. In this study, the composition of ZPR and the obtained products were thoroughly investigated by various methods including X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), chemical phase analysis and Mössbauer spectroscopy. The effect of temperature, amount of iron sulfates and roasting time on the conversion of valuable metals into a water-soluble form was thermodynamically and experimentally studied both using pure ferrites and ZPR. Based on the results of time-resolved XRD analysis and synchronous thermal analysis (STA), a mechanism of the sulfation roasting was elucidated. The rate-controlling step of zinc and copper sulfation process during the ZPR roasting was estimated. The sulfating roasting at 600 °C during 180 min with the optimal Fe2(SO4)3∙9H2O addition followed by water leaching enables to recover 99% Zn and 80.3% Cu, while Fe, Pb, Ag, In, Ga retained almost fully in the residue.
Keywords: Mössbauer spectroscopy; chemical phase analysis; copper ferrite; iron sulfate; sulfating roasting; time-resolved X-ray diffraction; zinc ferrite; zinc ferrite residue; zinc plant residue.