Extraction 2018 pp 1073-1082 | Cite as

Behavior of Nickel as a Trace Element and Time-Dependent Formation of Spinels in WEEE Smelting

  • Lassi KlemettinenEmail author
  • Katri Avarmaa
  • Pekka Taskinen
  • Ari Jokilaakso
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


For better understanding and maximal value utilization of the WEEE smelting process, the behavior and distribution of different trace elements must be known. In this study, the behavior of nickel as a trace element was studied in an equilibrium system with metallic copper—spinel saturated iron silicate slag (with 3 wt-% K2O)—iron aluminous spinel—gas. The experiments were conducted in alumina crucibles at 1300 °C, in oxygen pressure range of 10−10–10−5 atm. A time series of 15–60 min experiments was also conducted for investigating the formation rate of the primary spinel phase in the system. The results show that the distribution coefficient of nickel between metallic copper and liquid slag changes from approximately 70 to 0.4 along the increasing oxygen pressure range. In addition, a significant part of the nickel deports into the spinel phase. The spinel formation was investigated based on composition analysis results and visual observations from SEM-images.


Distribution Slag Potassium oxide Copper smelting 



The scholarship from the Finnish Steel and Metal Producer’s Fund (LK) has enabled this work. The assistance of Mr. Lassi Pakkanen at Geological Survey of Finland regarding the EPMA analyses is greatly appreciated.


  1. 1.
    Ghodrat M et al (2016) Techno economic analysis of electronic waste processing through black copper smelting route. J Clean Prod 126:178–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wood J et al (2011) Secondary copper processing using outotec ausmelt TSL technology. Presented at the AusIMM’s MetPlant conference, PerthGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Piret NL (2000) Cleaning copper and Ni/Co slags: the technical, economic, and environmental aspects. JOM 52(8):18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anand S, Kanta Rao P, Jena PK (1980) Leaching behaviour of copper converter slag in sulphuric acid. Trans Inst Min Metall 33:77–81Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jones RT, Hayman DA, Denton GM (1996) Recovery of cobalt, nickel, and copper from slags, using DC-Arc furnace technology. Presented at the 35th annual conference of metallurgists, Canada, Mintek paper no. 8360Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anand S, Rao KS, Jena PK (1983) Pressure leaching of copper converter slag using dilute sulphuric acid for the extraction of cobalt, nickel and copper values. Hydrometallurgy 10:303–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hagelüken C (2006) Recycling of electronic scrap at Umicore’s integrated metals smelter and refinery. World Metall-ERZMETALL 59(3):152–161Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Avarmaa K, O’Brien H, Taskinen P (2016) Equilibria of gold and silver between molten copper and FeOx–SiO2–Al2O3 slag in WEEE smelting at 1300 °C. In: Proceedings of the 10th international conference on molten slags, fluxes and salts MOLTEN, USA, pp 193–202Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nishijima W, Yamaguchi K (2014) Effects of slag composition and oxygen potential on distribution ratios of platinum group metals between Al2O3–CaO–SiO2–Cu2O slag system and molten copper at 1723 K. J Jpn Inst Met 78(7):267–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Klemettinen L, Avarmaa K, Taskinen P (2017) Trace element distribution is black copper smelting. World Metall-ERZMETALL 70(5):257–264Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Avarmaa K, Yliaho S, Taskinen P (2018) Recoveries of rare elements Ga, Ge, In and Sn from waste electric and electronic equipment through secondary copper smelting. Waste Manag 71:400–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cucchiella F et al (2015) Recycling of WEEE’s: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 51:263–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zhang L, Xu Z (2016) A review of current progress of recycling technologies for metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment. J Clean Prod 127:19–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Duan H et al (2011) Examining the technology acceptance for dismantling of waste printed circuit boards in light of recycling and environmental concerns. J Environ Manage 92(3):392–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    London metal exchange, 3-month average prices. Accessed 25 Jan 2018
  16. 16.
    Takeda Y, Ishiwata S, Yazawa A (1983) Distribution equilibria of minor elements between liquid copper and calcium ferrite slag. Trans Jpn Inst Met 24(7):518–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kashima M, Eguchi M, Yazawa A (1978) Distribution of impurities between crude copper, white metal and silica-saturated slag. Trans Jpn Inst Met 19:152–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kaur RR, Swinbourne DR, Nexhip C (2009) Nickel, lead and antimony distributions between ferrous calcium silicate slag and copper at 1300 °C. Min Process Extr Metall 118(2):65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sukhomlinov D, Taskinen P (2017) Distribution of Ni, Co, Ag, Au, Pt, Pd between copper metal and silica saturated iron silicate slag. In: Proceedings of the European metallurgical conference EMC, Germany, vol 3, pp 1029–1038Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reddy RG, Acholonu CC (1984) Distribution of nickel between copper-nickel and alumina saturated iron silicate slags. Metall Trans B 15B:33–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Klemettinen L, Avarmaa K, Taskinen P (2017) Slag chemistry of high-alumina iron silicate slags at 1300 °C in WEEE smelting. J Sustain Metall 3:772–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pouchou JL, Pichoir F (1986) Basic expression of “PAP” computation for quantitative EPMA. In: 11th international congress on X-ray optics and microanalysis ICXOM, Canada, pp 249–256Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lloyd GE (1987) Atomic number and crystallographic contrast images with the SEM: a review of backscattered electron techniques. Min Mag 51:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lassi Klemettinen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katri Avarmaa
    • 1
  • Pekka Taskinen
    • 1
  • Ari Jokilaakso
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical EngineeringAalto UniversityEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations