The effect of changes in iron-endpoint during Peirce–Smith convertingon PGE-containing nickel converter matte mineralization
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PGE-containing nickel-copper converter matte is blown to an iron-endpoint during Peirce–Smith conversion. The matte is granulated after conversion and the process can be described as fast cooling. The effect of changes in the iron-endpoint on matte mineralization during granulation or fast cooling is poorly understood. The aim of the study was to investigate the mineralogy and basic mineral chemistry of PGE-containing nickel converter matte as a function of iron-endpoints 5.17 wt%, 0.99 wt% and 0.15 wt%. A combination of mineralogical analytical techniques was applied to methodically characterise the converter matte. Representative sub-samples for the respective iron-endpoints were characterised using quantitative X-ray diffractometry (QXRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (HRSTEM) and bulk chemical and instrumentation methods. Moreover, solidification paths were created for the respective iron-endpoints to use as an assistant tool in understanding matte mineralogy.The matte mineralogy for iron-endpoint 5.17 wt% is characteristic of a significantly higher heazlewoodite relative abundance (77.89%) in comparison with that for iron-endpoints 0.99 wt% (62.92%) and 0.15 wt% (63.67%). Iron-endpoints 0.99 wt% and 0.15 wt% are in contrast, characteristic of a higher chalcocite relative abundance (18.56% and 17.86% respectively) in comparison with 12.04% for the high iron-endpoint. The lower iron-endpoints are further characteristic of a significantly higher alloy relative abundance in comparison with the high iron-endpoint. The PGE-containing nickel-dominant alloy phase for the high iron-endpoint is extremely fine grained, set in the heazlewoodite matrix and characteristic of the exsolution origin. The NiCu-dominant, PGE-containing alloy phases for iron-endpoints 0.99 wt% and 0.15 wt% are characterised by an exsolution origin followed by exsolution modifications probably due to PGE saturation at an early cumulus stage and the presence of other elements.
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Thyse, E.; Akdogan, G.; Mainza, A.; Eksteen, Jacques (2017)© 2017 Elsevier B.V. There is little in-depth study on the downstream processing characteristics of granulated PGM-containing converter matte, particularly related to grinding and liberation behavior closely associated ...
Leaching of Ni–Cu–Fe–S converter matte at varying iron endpoints; mineralogical changes and behaviour of Ir, Rh and Ruvan Schalkwyk, R; Eksteen, Jacques; Akdogan, G. (2013)The Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa is a rich source of platinum group elements (PGEs), as well as base metal sulphides. Typical beneficiation routes entail milling and flotation, smelting, matte converting and ...
Partitioning of PGEs in Nickel Converter Matte Phases: Direct Observations by Electron Microscopy and Electron Probe MicroanalysisThyse, E.; Akdogan, G.; Olivier, E.; Neethling, J.; Taskinen, P.; Eksteen, Jacques (2011)A recent study investigated the mineralogy and basic mineral chemistry of PGE-containing nickel converter matte phases as a function of their iron-endpoints from actual fast cooled production samples. Important findings ...