Investigation of the sedimentation of FeNi fine grains entrained in ERF slag
Nickel losses in the slag generated at Larco electric reduction furnaces (ERF) during smelting of Greek laterites account for about 20% of the total nickel of the feed. The recovery of the nickel contained in the slag as well as in its magnetic concentrate was studied under different methods. The experimental results have shown that a nickel recovery in the range of 75-90% is possible by allowing the slag to settle. Washing by low carbon steel can be performed during the final stages of the settling process as it improves the finally attained nickel recovery up to 94.4%. The simultaneous carbon reduction and settling process do not favour the Ni-recovery as the produced carbon monoxide and dioxide cause boiling of the bath which promotes the flotation of the metallic grains. In all cases a reoxidation of nickel was observed after 20 min approximately. Settling of the ferronickel grains was described by a mathematical model. The model's results are in good agreement to the experimental ones for the initial 20 min of the process. A modified model was elaborated combining the settling of the metallic grains with the nickel reoxidation reaction. This model describes with adequate accuracy the whole Ni-recovery process. The developed model can be proven helpful in the design of a slag cleaning step for metal recovery utilizing a slag settling furnace operating on line to the ERF.(Author abstract)
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