Leaching Behavior of Lithium from Bauxite Residue Using Acetic Acid

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Bauxite residue (red mud) is an alkaline waste derived from the industrial process for extraction of alumina from bauxite ore. Some bauxite residues contain considerable concentrations of critical metals, for example, rare earth elements. Lithium in red mud was also reported as a potential resource. In the current study, a Li-rich red mud was leached using acetic acid to investigate the leaching behavior of lithium followed by neutralizing with hydrochloric or oxalic acid. By neutralizing red mud using diluted hydrochloric acid (0.01 mol/L), 58.04–60.27% of lithium was leached using 25% acetic acid at 95 °C for 60 min. In the meantime, more than 95% of sodium and 85% of calcium were also dissolved in the leachate solution. While oxalic acid (0.5 mol/L) was used to neutralize red mud prior to acetic acid leaching, lithium performed lower leaching efficiencies (42.41–46.88%) in comparison of using of hydrochloric acid–neutralized red mud. Nevertheless, these leaching efficiencies of lithium were close to that of calcium and much higher than those of sodium under the condition. In this study, 25% (v/v) of acetic acid, at 85 °C for 60 min, was demonstrated as optimum conditions for lithium extraction from oxalic acid–neutralized red mud using acetic acid. The results would be useful and of interest for lithium recovery and purification from red mud.

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The authors acknowledge Dr. Wanchao Liu who provided the HN red mud sample.

Funding Information

This work received financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1812402; 41972048), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFC1903500), Guizhou Provincial Science and Technology Foundation ([2016]1155), and Guizhou Scientific and Technological Innovation Team (2017-5657).

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Correspondence to Hannian Gu.

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Gu, H., Li, W., Li, Z. et al. Leaching Behavior of Lithium from Bauxite Residue Using Acetic Acid. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020).

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  • Lithium
  • Red mud
  • Leaching
  • Acetic acid
  • Oxalic acid