Efficient Utilization of Zinc-, Lead- and Copper-Containing By-Products
Ores nowadays often show a higher complexity, containing different valuable metals as well as disturbing elements. In the state-of-the-art smelters, the majority of these elements end up as by-products. Treatment of such by-products is in many cases not done and if processes exist, they often recover only one metal, leaving a lot of value in newly generated residues. New strategies have to be employed to allow more efficient utilization of these important raw materials. The paper describes developments in bath smelting processes allowing a simultaneous recovery of different metals in one step, generating valuable products and an inert slag which in best case enables utilization in the construction industry. The proposed system is described in detail for zinc-, lead- and copper-containing by-products. Especially economic considerations are explained, showing how different metals contribute to a feasible process and what are the critical factors that have to be considered.
KeywordsMulti-metal recycling By-products Precious metals Assessment
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