, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 567-576

The mineralogical deportment of germanium in the Clarksville Electrolytic Zinc Plant of Savage Zinc Inc.

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Abstract

A mineralogical study was carried out on the neutral leach residue and weak acid leach residue generated from Gordonsville zinc concentrate at the Clarksville Electrolytic Zinc Plant of Savage Zinc Inc. The intent was to characterize the mineral forms and associations of germanium. The Gordonsville zinc concentrate consists mostly of sphalerite which has a solid solution Ge content of ~400 ppm; the sphalerite is the dominant, if not only, Ge carrier in the concentrate. The neutral leach residue consists principally of iron gel-silica gel, ZnO, and basic zinc sulfate, (Zn,Cu)4(SO4)(OH)6·4H2O, together with minor amounts of ZnFe2O4, sphalerite, Zn2SiO4, Zn-Fe-Pb silicate, and PbSO4, as well as traces of quartz, silicates, Pb-K jarosite solid solution, Fe2O3, and FeO·OH. The major Ge carrier is the iron gel-silica gel phase, but modest amounts of Ge are present in the ZnO, ZnFe2O4, sphalerite, and Zn-Fe-Pb silicate phases. The weak acid leach residue consists mostly of iron gel-silica gel, ZnFe2O4, PbSO4, Pb-K jarosite, Zn-Fe-Pb silicate, and quartz. The major Ge carrier is the iron gel-silica gel phase which contains up to 1.7 pct Ge and accounts for ~70 pct of the total Ge content of this residue. The remaining Ge is carried by the Zn-Fe-Pb silicate, ZnFe2O4, and some of the rare Mn-Pb-Fe oxide phases.