Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China The Chinese Journal of Nonferrous Metals

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Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China

Vol. 31    No. 7    July 2021

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Enhanced lithium leaching from lepidolite in continuous tubular reactor using H2SO4+H2SiF6 as lixiviant
Hui GUO1,2,3, Ge KUANG2, Huan LI2,4, Wen-tao PEI2, Hai-dong WANG3

1. School of Chemical Engineering, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China;
2. Institute of Chemical Technologies, College of Chemical Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China;
3. School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China;
4. Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102, Australia

Abstract:An acidic mixture of sulfuric and fluosilicic acid (H2SO4+H2SiF6) was employed as lixiviant to enhance leaching of lithium from lepidolite. The H2SiF6 was obtained as a byproduct of anhydrous hydrofluoric acid production, aiming to provide HF molecules. It was found that the HF molecules were the main reaction component and played a key role in strengthening the dissolution of lepidolite. Different factors, including mass ratio of ore/H2SO4/H2SiF6, concentrations of H2SO4 and H2SiF6, leaching temperatures (40-80 °C) and time (15-75 min), were investigated. Moreover, an efficient tubular reactor was employed to improve this acid leaching system. Under the optimal conditions (ore/H2SO4/H2SiF6 mass ratio of 1:0.8:1.6, 80 wt.% H2SO4, 15 wt.% H2SiF6, 80 °C, 15 min), 97.9% of Li, 96.4% of K, 97.6% of Rb, 96.7% of Cs and 81.4% of Al (mass fraction) were leached. Additionally, a two-step thermal process was proposed to remove fluorine of leaching slurry. This acid treatment using an acidic mixture of H2SO4 and H2SiF6 in a continuous tubular reactor shows potential as an alternative process to extract lithium from lepidolite.


Key words: lepidolite; lithium extraction; continuous tubular reactor; fluosilicic acid; fluorine chemical method

ISSN 1004-0609
CN 43-1238/TG

ISSN 1003-6326
CN 43-1239/TG

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