Characterization of Chromium (III) Compounds Isolated from Different Mineral Ores Using Ammonium Phosphate as Flux


Complete isolation of chromium (III) from the reference material (SARM 131), Upper Group 2 (UG2) chromite ore, and Merensky Reef mineral ore was achieved using ammonium phosphate salt as flux. Optimum pH (3.2–3.8) conditions and sample to flux ratios (1:25) were some of the factors that were critical for the complete isolation of chromium. Increasing the sample to flux ratio (1:50 excess) however resulted in the conversion of all the elements in the melt into a green solution (pH, 5.8–6.7). A different chromium compound was subsequently isolated from the green solution by allowing this solution to stand in an open vessel in a cupboard for a month during which time the pH decreased to pH 3.5–4.2. Quantitative analyses of chromium from the isolated precipitates of SARM 131, UG2 chromite ore, and Merensky Reef mineral ore indicated chromium contents of 41.87, 60.41, and 23.93% respectively which were very close to the chromium content in the original samples. Analysis of the chromium precipitates using IR indicated the presence of phosphates (1100–1200 cm−1) while SEM-EDX analysis showed the presence of microscopic crystalline particles with Cr, P, and O as the major elements. Further characterization of the chromium precipitates using XRD and Raman successfully identified the product as chromium (III) metaphosphate C-type (Cr(PO3)3, JCPDS no. 01-077-0672), in the isolated chromium precipitates.

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This paper is financially supported by the Research Fund of the University of the Free State and the National Research Fund of South Africa.

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Correspondence to T. T. Chiweshe.

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Chiweshe, T.T., Potgieter-Vermaak, S. & Purcell, W. Characterization of Chromium (III) Compounds Isolated from Different Mineral Ores Using Ammonium Phosphate as Flux. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 36, 441–450 (2019).

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  • Ammonium phosphate
  • Chromium metaphosphate
  • UG2 chromite
  • Merensky Reef
  • XRD
  • Raman