Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
BAUMGARTNER, S.J. and GROOT, D.R.. The recovery of manganese products from ferromanganese slag using a hydrometallurgical route. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.4, pp.331-340. ISSN 2411-9717.
The ferromanganese industry is under pressure to deal with the slag arising from the production of ferromanganese, which is discarded in landfills or slag heaps. This material poses an environmental and health risk to surrounding ecosystems and communities, and disposal costs are increasing. Ferromanganese slag contains an appreciable amount of residual manganese metal, which can be exploited. Previous work has shown that the slag can be leached fully, while rejecting the silica to a residue. The methods that were investigated to recover manganese from the leach solution included hydroxide precipitation to upgrade the leach solution followed by manganese carbonate precipitation to produce a pure manganese carbonate product or a manganese carbonate furnace feed material, which would be recycled to increase manganese recoveries in the production of ferromanganese. In addition, electrowinning of electrolytic manganese dioxide from the leach solution was studied. The methods were compared in terms of selectivity, costs, and product quality. Co-recovery of the leach residue, which is a potential cement additive, is discussed. Among the methods investigated to upgrade the pregnant leach solution, hydroxide precipitation utilizing ammonia to adjust the pH appears to be the most effective in removing major impurities such as iron, aluminium, and silica to less than 1 ppm. The manganese carbonate and impure manganese carbonate furnace feed products met quality specifications. However, although the production of these materials was technically viable, the large amounts of base reagent that were required to raise the pH, and the associated high operating costs, rendered the process uneconomic. An optimization study was therefore carried out with the primary objective to determine the ideal acid amount to be utilized in the water-starved digestion stage, thereby decreasing acid and base consumption while optimizing the quality of the pregnant leach solution, and producing a leach residue that contained <1% Mn. The outcome was an economically viable process. Additional benefits included an increase in the manganese content of the impure manganese carbonate furnace feed material, and a substantial reduction in the dilution of the pregnant leach solution, thereby maintaining high manganese concentrations that rendered the solution viable for electrowinning of electrolytic manganese dioxide, the production of which yielded a current efficiency of 74%.
Keywords : environment; ferromanganese slag; manganese products; water-starved digestion; precipitation.