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Seawater leaching of caliche mineral in column experiments
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Chemical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8241-2225
2013 (English)In: Hydrometallurgy, ISSN 0304-386X, Vol. 139, 79-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Caliche is a mineral that contains a high fraction of soluble minerals and that is exploited in Northern Chile through vat or heap leaching for the production of iodine and nitrate. In this zone, the water availability is scarce, being a critical issue for the mining industries and whereby the use of other leaching agents as seawater may be a viable alternative. For this reason in the present study, column-leaching experiments using seawater were performed, including different irrigation rates and column heights. It is found that the highly soluble minerals such as nitrate and iodate are rapidly leached, while for other minerals like sulphate and chloride, the outlet concentration increased once that part of the sodium has been removed. Crystals of sodium sulphate were found at the column bottom, when this was dismantled. An existing phenomenological model (Gálvez et al., 2012) was used to analyse the changes of concentration of nitrate and iodine (as iodate) with a good agreement between the experiments and the simulations. On the other hand, for sulphate and chloride a new model was developed, which takes into account the dissolution and precipitation phenomena of these ions. The model was able to capture the trends observed in the experiments for the outlet concentrations of the modelled ions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 139, 79-87 p.
Keyword [en]
Caliche, Column experiments, Heap leaching, Modelling, Seawater
National Category
Other Chemical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-133396DOI: 10.1016/j.hydromet.2013.07.009ISI: 000326139000011ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84883332416OAI: diva2:661797

QC 20131105

Available from: 2013-11-05 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2013-11-27Bibliographically approved

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Moreno, Luis
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