Document Type : Original Research Paper


Mining engineering department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran



In this work, zinc extraction from an industrial leach solution was investigated by saponified di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (D2EHPA). The solution obtained was from a bioleaching process of a low-grade lead-zinc sulfide ore that contained 50 g/L of zinc and 6.3 g/L of iron. The selective and high Zn(II) extraction yield were obtained by modification of D2EHPA in a proposed two-step process. Firstly, a significant amount of iron (87%) was removed as sodium-jarosite via precipitation from the pregnant leaching solution (PLS) prior to zinc extraction, and secondly, the effective parameters involved in zinc extraction including the contact time, saponification degree, type of saponifier, stirring speed, pH, temperature, D2EHPA concentration, and phase ratio (A:O) were investigated. The results obtained showed that 98.4% of zinc could be extracted under the optimum conditions, i.e. 20% D2EHPA, 15% saponification degree, 650 rpm, pH 2, and an A:O ratio of 1:1 at the ambient temperature (25 ± 2 °C) during 90 s; it was 25% higher than using non-saponified D2EHPA under the same conditions. Moreover, while one theoretical step was required for the complete extraction of zinc by saponified D2EHPA, the required number of steps using D2EHPA was about three. Therefore, the advantages of the process would be two-fold: reducing the number of extraction stages and no need for neutralizing the raffinate in every extraction stage.


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