Central composite design for optimization and formulation of desulphurization of iron ore concentrate using atmospheric leaching process
Owing to the negative effects of sulphur in iron ore on steelmaking process and environment, a tank leaching process was performed in atmospheric conditions to remove the sulphur from the iron ore concentrate and simultaneously to transform sulphide minerals into useful by-products. To achieve desirable sulphur removal rate and efficiency, central composite design was adopted as a response surface methodology for the optimization and evaluation of the process. A full-quadratic polynomial equation between the sulphur removal and the studied parameters was established to assess the behaviour of sulphur removal as a function of the factors and to predict the results in various conditions. The optimum conditions were obtained based on the variance tests and response surface plots, from which the optimized ranges for each factor resulting in the best response (corresponding to the highest percentage of desulphurization) could be then achieved. The results show that most desirable conditions are atmospheric leaching in 1.39 mol/dm3 nitric acid and 0.88 mol/dm3 sulphuric acid for 47 h. The designed process under the optimized desulphurization conditions was applied to a real iron ore concentrate. More than 75% of the total sulphur was removed via the leaching process. In addition to the desulphurization, the conversion of sulphide-bearing minerals into useful by-products, extraction of valuable metals, and executing the process under atmospheric conditions are the other advantages of the proposed method.
KeywordsDesulphurization Iron ore concentrate Sulphide mineral leaching Central composite design Atmospheric leaching process
We are grateful to the Gol-e-Gohar Mining and Industrial Co. for the financial support and supplying the study samples. Additional funding by the Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman is also acknowledged.
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