Recovery of Iron and Aluminum from Bauxite Residue by Carbothermic Reduction and Slag Leaching
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Sustainable Metallurgy. 2021, 7 1314-1326. 10.1007/s40831-021-00422-7
The recovery of major components of bauxite residue by carbothermic reduction at 1550–1750 °C and subsequent slag leaching in a Na3CO3(aq) solution is studied. Iron recovers primarily to pig-iron and lime is added to tune the calcium aluminate slags towards the highly leachable mayenite phase. The concentration of aluminum in the leachate correlates well with the occurrence of mayenite and aluminum recoveries up to 50–60% are observed. However, slags with low CaO additions are vulnerable to gehlenite formation and display reduced leachabilities. Formation of an inhibiting layer of CaCO3(s) on the reaction surface of calcium-aluminate particles during leaching and immobilization of aluminum in CaTiO3(s) are also suggested to play important roles in limiting the aluminum leachability. Costs related to post-processing may be reduced by achieving disintegrating slags, a behavior which is observed for slags holding high γ- to β-Ca2SiO4 ratios. The disintegration is caused by the large volume expansion associated with the β-to-γ transformation and as such, various factors that are known to stabilize the β-polymorph are discussed.