Utilization of Scrap Metals as Reductants for Improved Ni and Cu Recoveries in Copper Smelting

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, Volume 8, issue 4
This study investigated a novel approach of using Al and Al–Mg scrap as heat providers and reductants that do not cause direct carbon-containing emissions in pyrometallurgical copper processing. Aluminum and magnesium are typical elements in metal wastes, such as WEEE, and they oxide easily under copper smelting conditions. In the reduction experiments, a copper- and nickel-rich industrial slag was equilibrated under Ar gas atmosphere at 1300 °C, after which a reductant metal piece was dropped on top of the slag. The slag-reductant samples were drop quenched in brine after 2–128 min of reduction. Thermodynamic calculations were executed with MTDATA to evaluate the phase equilibria and thermochemistry of the copper slag in metallothermic reduction. All the results proved that Al and Al-5wt% Mg alloys can be used as reductants in copper processes to enhance the recoveries of nickel and copper in metal/matte. Cu concentration in slag decreased from 2 to 1.2 wt% and Ni from 1.7 to 1.2 wt% in 30 min in aluminothermic reduction experiments, despite an immediate formation of a solid alumina layer on the surface of the reductant, hindering the reduction kinetics. The heat produced was calculated as 31 kWh/ton slag or 2.1 kWh/kg added Al or Al–Mg. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Funding Information: This work was financially supported by the Business Finland financed SYMMET project [Grant Number 3891/31/2018]. Katri Avarmaa also received funding from the Finnish Steel Producer’s Fund via Prof. Daniel Lindberg’s research group grant [Application Number 1497]. Lassi Klemettinen is grateful for the doctoral study grant provided by the Finnish Steel and Metal Producers' Fund and the funding provided by Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering. This study utilized the Academy of Finland’s RawMatTERS Finland Infrastructure (RAMI) based jointly at Aalto University, GTK, and VTT in Espoo. The authors are also grateful for Professor Akbar Rhamdhani on his support and feedback when finalizing the manuscript. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).
Aluminothermic reduction, E-scrap, Kinetics, Magnesium, Metallothermic reduction
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Avarmaa, K, Klemettinen, L, Taskinen, P, Lindberg, D, Pihlasalo, J, Johto, H & Jokilaakso, A 2022, ' Utilization of Scrap Metals as Reductants for Improved Ni and Cu Recoveries in Copper Smelting ', Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 1915-1931 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s40831-022-00614-9