Trace element transformations and partitioning during the roasting of pyrite ores in the sulfuric acid industry.
ABSTRACT Total concentrations combined with chemical partitioning of trace elements (Cd, Co, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, Tl, and Zn) in raw pyrite ore and solid roasting wastes were investigated in order to elucidate their transformations and partitioning during the roasting of raw pyrite ores in sulfuric acid production. In order to better understand the behavior of these elements during roasting, mineral transformations accompanying roasting were also investigated by using microscopy. Results indicated that the mode of occurrence of trace elements in raw pyrite ore and the thermostability of trace element-bearing species formed during roasting played major roles in the transformations of the selected trace elements. Silicate- and amorphous iron (hydr)oxide-bound elements (Cr and Pb) were stable and mainly retained in their original phases. However, acid-exchangeable and sulfide-bound elements tended to transform into other forms via different pathways: elements that tend to form low thermostable species (Cd, Pb and Tl) were significantly vaporized, whereas elements that tend to form high thermostable species (Co, Mn and Ni) mainly reacted with iron oxides or silicates, which then remained in the solid residues. The volatility of trace elements during the roasting has a significant effect on their subsequent partitioning in roasting wastes. Nonvolatile element (Co, Cr, Mn, and Ni) partitioning was determined by settling of the particulate in which they are bound, whereas the partitioning of (semi)volatile elements (Cd, Pb, Tl, and Zn) was controlled by the adsorption of their gaseous species on the particulate.