Chlorination-molten salt electrolysis process for extracting lead from its sulphide concentrates

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Abstract

The conventional method for producing lead (Pb) from its sulphide concentrates is the lead blast furnace. Although this pyrometallurgical process is efficient, it has a major disadvantage in that it produces excessive SO2 and Pb emissions. Due to the recent trends towards more environmental protection and more stringent in-plant hygiene, alternative hydrometallurgically-based processes for the production of Pb from its sulphide concentrates are being developed. With these processes, excessive SO2 and Pb bearing particles are not produced. One of the processes that has received some attention is the chlorination-molten salt electrolysis process. The process involves the conversion of the lead in the galena (PbS) to PbCl2 either by hydrometallurgical chlorination (leaching) or pyrometallurgical chlorination processes and then the electrodeposition of Pb from a mixture of molten salts. This paper examines the production of Pb from its sulphide concentrates via the chlorination-molten salt electrolysis process. The principles of the chlorination processes and how they are applied to the molten salt electrolysis process for the extraction of Pb from sulphide concentrates are reviewed. The major emphasis of this review is placed on the molten-salt electrolysis process.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)147-166
Number of pages20
JournalMineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

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