Evaluation of Mica as a Source of Potash

  • Ashwini Kumar
  • Himanshu Tanvar
  • Yogendra Pratap
  • Nikhil DhawanEmail author


India does not possess any soluble potash reserves and depends completely on imports. In this study, an attempt has been made to recover potash (K) values from the mica sample employing thermal and mechanical routes followed by leaching. Direct leaching of mica in different lixiviants is found to be ineffective with very low K-dissolution (1–5%). Heat treatment with different fluxes, such as NaCl, NaOH, and CaCl2, is carried out and almost 85% K-values are recovered. Mechanical activation of mica and with different calcium additives is carried out to recover potash values. K is recovered in leach solution in the form of soluble salts, such as K2CO3, K2SO4, and KOH, and leach residue consists mainly of calcium-alumino-silicates. Using mechanical activation with flux, it is possible to recover >95% K-values from mica sample. Mechanical activation with calcium-based flux is found sustainable in the recovery of K-values from mica.


Potash Mica Heat treatment Mechanical activation Leaching 



The authors would like to acknowledge the funding received from the Ministry of Mines and Science Engineering Research Board to carry out the research work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Amundson R, Berhe AA, Hopmans JW, Olson C, Sztein AE, Sparks DL (2015) Soil and human security in the 21st century. Soil Sci 348:647–653Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ciceri D, Manning DAC, Allanore A (2015) Historical and technical developments of potassium resources. Sci Total Environ 502:590–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    IBM (2017) Indian minerals yearbook (part III: mineral reviews) 56th edn. Potash. Indian Bureau of MinesGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jena SK, Dhawan N, Rao DS, Misra PK, Mishra BK, Das B (2014) Studies on extraction of potassium values from nepheline syenite. Int J Miner Process 133:13–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Santos WO, Mattiello EM, Costa LM, Abrahao WAP, Novais RF, Cantarutti RB (2015) Thermal and chemical solubilization of verdete for use as potassium fertilizer. Int J Miner Process 140:72–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ciceri D, Oliveira MD, Allanore A (2017) Potassium fertilizer via hydrothermal alteration of K-feldspar ore. Green Chem 19:5187–5202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jena SK, Dhawan N, Rao DS, Das B (2015) Extraction of potassium values from pyrophyllite mine waste. Sep Sci Technol 51(2):269–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mazumder AK, Sharma T, Rao TC (1993) Extraction of potassium from glauconitic sandstone by the roast-leach method. Int J Miner Process 38:111–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shekhar S, Mishra D, Agarwal A, Sahu KK (2017) Physico-chemical treatment of glauconitic sandstone to recover potash and magnetite. J Clean Prod 147:681–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Varadachari C (1997) Potash fertilizer from biotite. Ind Eng Chem Res 36:4768–4773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    IBM (2016) Indian minerals yearbook (Part III: mineral reviews) 55th edn. Mica. Indian Bureau of MinesGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Roy RK (1995) A primer on the Taguchi method. Reinhold, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Balaz P (2008) Mechanochemistry in nanoscience and minerals engineering. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kleiv RA, Thornhill M (2007) Production of mechanically activated rock flour fertilizer by high intensive ultrafine grinding. Miner Eng 20(4):334–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashwini Kumar
    • 1
  • Himanshu Tanvar
    • 1
  • Yogendra Pratap
    • 1
  • Nikhil Dhawan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical & Materials EngineeringIndian Institute of TechnologyRoorkeeIndia

Personalised recommendations