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23rd international Mining Congress 8. Exhibition of Turkey - 16-19 April 2013 AN TALYA

Quantitative Leaching of Nickel From Jarosite Using Sulphuric
Acid

M. E. Makhatha, W. Nheta

University of Johannesburg, South Africa, POBOX I 70] i, Doornfontein, 2028

R. Lamya

Impala Platinum Limited  Springs, South Aica, Cm". East Geduid Road and Cowles Street,
P. O. Box 222, East Gedulci, I559

ABSTRACT This paper deals with the extraction of nickel from jarosite precipitates. Nickel
loss to these precipitates is mainly by entrainment and coprecipitation. Nickel is hazardous to
the environment. In this study, an attempt has been made to extract nickel entrained in
jarosite precipitates produced at Implats Base Metal Reneries. The leaching efficiency 0f
nickel was 59% at 30�C. The acid concentration of v0.5  1M, pulp density of 10%, leaching
time of 21/2 hours was found to be optimum. High concentrations of acid and high
temperatures could break the jarosite structure and release more Fe into the solution which
will adversely affect the following precipitation process. The reaction is diffusion

independent.

Key words: Jarosite precipitates, Leaching, Nickel, Waste and Eluent

1 INTRODUCTION

Increase in environmental alarm due to
unacceptable management of both
hazardous and non-hazardous wastes on the
rampage from different industrial processes
prioritize the need for the improved
research. Nowadays, with the
enviromnental regulations becoming more
and more severe and growing pressure on
the conservation of mineral resources,
economically-viable refining technology in
recycling has gained interest. The most
serious environmental issue faced by the
processing industry is the process of
efuents. Mineral processing industries
may contain heavy metals, organic (waste,
and oils, including the waste liquids from
wastewater streams. Toxic metals existing
in" high concentrations must almost
certainly be well treated (Dutrizac & Chen,
2000). On the other hand, the disposal
process can bring about some complexity.
Companies are also suffering from an
increased disposal cost besides the
environmental sensitivity.

The focus is lately on the ability to clean
up waste and return or recycle a signicant
proportion (Kurama, 2009; Kurama, 2007).
The waste which is generally regarded a
hazardous could be further considered as a
rich secondary source of metal such as
nickel from jarosite precipitates.

Jarosite (KFe3+3(OH)6(SO4);) is a basic
hydrous sulphate of potassium and iron, its
formation is represented by the following
reaction:

3F�2 (SO03 i M2804 l  �> 2We3
(S04)2(0H)6 +
6H2SO4 ...................... ..(l)

Where M represents any of the ions Nal,
NH4+, H30+,Li+, Kl, 0.5Pb2+ and v2
HgzYLong, et al., I992). _

Nickel is not on the above list of ions
that can be incorporated in a jaroiste
structure neither can it substitute F e.
Hence loss of nickel to the jarosite
precipitate can either be by entrainment or
co-precipitation. However with formation
of Beaverite jarosite
Pb(Fe,Cu)3(SO4)2(OH)6, Fe can
replaced by either Cu? or Zn?" or both in

1377

M. E. Makhatha, W. Nheia, R. Lamya

the structure (Dutrizac & Chen, 2000;
Dutrizac, et al., 1980),

Jarosite structure have been intensely
researched and it is best described in the
space group R-3m and has lattice
parameters a~7.3 A, c~17 A. The kagome
plane is made up of iron coordination
octahedra, and the Fe octahedra are capped
above and below by sulphate
tetrahedral(Wills, et al., 2006).

The jarosite group of minerals has been
extensively studied as a result of its
importance as a by-product of the metal-
processing industry as well as being very
common in acid-mine waste. Minerals
within the jarosite group are commonly
found in acidic, high-sulfate environments
associated with mine tailings(Basciano &
Peterson, 2007).

Annually thousand tonnes of synthetic
jarosite is produced and contains 25-36
wt% Fe(Dutrizac & Chen, 2000). Group
minerals of jarosite are one of the most
commonly natural occurring iron-sulfates.
They usually occur as yellow crusts and
coatings urithin the saturated zones of mine
failings and acid sulfate soils. These group
of minerals consists of more than 40
different mineral species that have the
general formula AB3(TO4)2(OH, H2O); and
is part of the alunite supergroup(Bigham &
Nordstrom, n.d.). Minerals of the alunite-
jarosite group can have Nair, K+, H3O+,
ma, lAg, t and verb forming the A site,
Fe (jarosite group). As the jarosite
structure can incorporate a large number of
elements, its chemical composition reects
the chemical- compositions of the uids
from which it formed. For example:
Oxygen in the S04 site reects the source
of oxygen during oxidation of the sulde,
this value will depend on whether water or
air provides the oxygen and if any
biogeochemical (microbial) processes are
involved. Oxygen in the OH site is more
complex and reects the character of the
parent uid, equilibrium exchange
processes, and temperature. Natural and
synthetic jarosite group minerals commonly

1378

have signicant quantities of hydronium in
the alkali site and minor to major
deciencies in the iron site. J arosite is also
important in the base metal industry as a
sink for iron; it is precipitated as a means of
removing the iron that is commonly present
in base metal concentrates.

Sulfuric acid is most widely used acid
for leaching due to the following
advantages: (i) high solubility of base
metals, (ii) Low price, (iii) well established
technology for solvent/electrowinning in
sulphate media and (iv) regeneration of acid
after solvent extraction.

2. EXPERIMENTAL

2.1 Material
The jarosite precipitate used in this study
was. produced at Impala Base Metal
Reneries. The bulk size of the material
was 93% - 45 um.

2.2 Method

2.2.1 Water Wash
10 grams was taken from the jarosite
sample and washed in 200ml of distilled
water to determine the amount of nickel
that may have been entrained during solid
liquid separation at the plant.

2.2.2 Leaching

The leaching experiments were carried out
by taking required amount of sulfuric acid
in a glass beaker of 500ml capacity placed
under an overhead stirrer in a water bath.
The concentration of sulphuric acid was
varied from 0.01 M to 3M. The pulp
density was varied from 5% to 30%. The
temperature of all the experiments was
maintained at 25 �C except where it was
varied between 25 �C to 60 C. Time of
leaching was varied from l/z hr to Shrs and
the rate of stirring was varied from 50 to
250revs/minute. The rate of leaching was
monitored in terms of leaching efciency
calculated as-

23rd international Mining Congress 8. Exhibition of Turkey - 16-19 April 2013 AN TALYA

([W]t/[W]c)>/
l!
8 40 +=4% Ni Recovery
g --Il-- % Fe Recovery
g 30
20
10 l:m\ZB//
0  -- .

 

20 30 40 50 so 1o
Temperature �C

Figure 7: Effect of leaching temperature,
1M H2SO4, 2 1/1 hrs, 10% PD.

4.3.5 Effect of Pulp Density

The solid to liquid ratio (w/v) is termed the
pulp density. The effect of pulp density on
nickel extraction is given if gure 8. It is
clear that in both 5% and 10% pulp density,
48% extraction was achieved. But when the
pulp density was increased to 30%, the
recovery was reduced to around 43%.
Hence in this case 10% may be taken as the
optimum pulp density for optimal recovery
of nickel.

5O

50 +._'_-i-iii-
Z 4o "i
ll
8 30 .
GI
c:
g 2o
1o
o . . . .
0 1o 20 3o 4o
% Weight (By Mass)

Figure 8: Effect of pulp density, 1M
H2SO4, 2 1/2 hrs, 25�C

5. CONCLUSION

The jarosite precipitate containing nickel
was leached in sulphuric acid medium at
different _ temperature and acid
concentrations. The leaching efciency of
nickel was 59% at 30�C. The acid
concentration of 0.5  1M, pulp density of
10%, leaching time of 21/2 hours was
found to be optimum under the present
conditions. High concentrations of acid and
high temperatures could break the jarosite
structure and release more Fe into the
solution which will adversely affect the
following precipitation process. The
reaction is diffusion independent.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Authors are thankful to Impala Platinum
Limited  Springs, for providing Jarosite
waste. Edward Malenga is also
acknowledged for his assistance throughout
the project.

1383

Al. E. Makhatha, W. Nheta, R. Lamya

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anon., n.d. s.l., s.n.

Basciano, L. C. 8c Peterson, R. C., 2007. Crystal
chemistry of the natrojarosite-jarosite and
natrojarosite-hydroniumjarosite solid solution
series: a synthetic study with full iron
siteoccupancy. American Mineralogy, Volume
48, pp. 853-862.

Bigham, J. M. & Nordstrom, D. K., n.d. Iron and
aluminium hydroxysubrates om acid
waterssuate. Washington , DC, s.n.

Dutrizac, J. E. & Chen, T. T., 2000. Behaviour of
gallium jarosite during jarosite precipitation..
Canadian metallurgical Quarterly, 39(1), pp. 1-
14.

Dutrizac, J. E., Dinardo, O. & Kaiman, S., 1980.
Factors affecting lead jarosite formation.
Hydrometallurgjz, Volume S, pp. 305-324.

Kurama, H., 2007. Recycle and recovery of metals
-om secondary sources. EM, Dusseldorf,
Germany, s.n., pp. 701-717.

Kurarna, H., 2009. Treatment and recovery of
nickel rich precipitate from plating plant waste.
Journal of environmental engineering and
landscape management, Volume 17, pp. 212-
218.

Long, D. T. et al., 1992. Formation of alunite,
jarosite and hydrous iron oxides in a hypersaline
system: Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia.
Chemical geology, Volume 96, pp. 183-202.

Wills, A. S. et al., 2006. Fe Mossbauer spectra and
magnetic data from the kagome antiferromagnet
H30-jarosite. Hyperne Interactions, Volume
168, pp. 1085-1089.

1384

2a"! lnlerltafldnal Mining Congress s Exhibition of Turkey 8 "is-isiiprii 201a ANTALYA

This Congress is supported by TUBiTAK
W _ W: (The Scientic and Technological Research Council of Turkey)
I, "lili

All rights reserved � 2013

The book or a part of the book cannot be republished without written permission of the
Chamber of Mining Engineers.

Rewonsibility for the content of the papers belongs to the authorsf

ISBN: 978-605-01-0467-7

Published by: TbiiMOB Made-n Mhendisleri Odes:
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Phone: +90 312 425 10 80

Fax: +90 312 417 S2 90
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23" international Mining Congress & Exhibition of Tuiirey - 16-19 April 2013 ANTALYA

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