This article presents the salient features of a new process for the recovery of metal values from secondary sources and waste materials such as slag and flue dusts. It is also feasible in extracting metals such as nickel and cobalt from ores that normally are difficult to enrich and process metallurgically. The salt extraction process is based on extraction of the metals from the raw materials by a molten salt bath consisting of NaCl, LiCl, and KCl corresponding to the eutectic composition with AlCl3 as the chlorinating agent. The process is operated in the temperature range 973 K (700 C) to 1173 K (900 C). The process was shown to be successful in extracting Cr and Fe from electric arc furnace (EAF) slag. Electrolytic copper could be produced from copper concentrate based on chalcopyrite in a single step. Conducting the process in oxygen-free atmosphere, sulfur could be captured in the elemental form. The method proved to be successful in extracting lead from spent cathode ray tubes. In order to prevent the loss of AlCl3 in the vapor form and also chlorine gas emission at the cathode during the electrolysis, liquid aluminum was used. The process was shown to be successful in extracting Nd and Dy from magnetic scrap. The method is a highly promising process route for the recovery of strategic metals. It also has the added advantage of being environmentally friendly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)