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Study of process mineralogy for hydrometallurgical extraction of vanadium and aluminum from bone coal

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 155-160

Xiao, W.D.; Yang, X.; Zhang, P.


A process mineralogy study was conducted to guide the development of a process for the extraction of vanadic oxide (V2O5) and aluminum compounds from bone coal and its ash as well as the production of byproducts. Results show that to extract the targeted metals at higher recovery rates, one must find a suitable agent capable of destroying the structure of the mica and breaking down the lattices in which these metal-bearing minerals occur. For such minerals, metal extraction efficiency is usually low if the approach is simply adding an oxidant that cannot destroy the structure. In this research, a byproduct fluosilicic acid (H2SiF6) at 20 percent concentration from an operating phosphate fertilizer plant was found to be powerful and effective for the leaching of vanadium-bearing minerals such as mica. This environmentally friendly process improved the leachability of valuable constituents in the bone coal significantly, with the leaching rate of V2O5 increased to 94 percent, from 83 percent, and that of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) increased to 75 percent, from 40 percent. X-ray diffraction and chemical analyses showed that the structure of mica can be destroyed using fluosilicic acid either alone or in combination with sulfuric acid. Based on the process mineralogy study, a processing flowsheet was tested, which resulted in a final V2O5 powder product with purity of 99.2 percent and an overall recovery rate of higher than 85 percent. The flowsheet consists of leaching, ion exchange and ammonium precipitation. With this process, various byproducts could also be generated, including aluminum fluoride, cryolite, aluminum sulfate, calcium sulfate, ammonium chloride, sodium chloride and cement admixtures.