Investigation into recovery of titania slag from waste ilmenite smelting furnace dust
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© IMPC 2018 - 29th International Mineral Processing Congress. All rights reserved. Titaniferous ores serve as a major feedstock for the production of a white titanium dioxide pigment, a titanium metal and several other titanium-based products. Such ores exist mainly as heavy mineral sands. Ilmenite is upgraded to intermediate products namely synthetic rutile and titania slag through the synthetic rutile route and the reductive smelting route respectively. Tronox KwaZulu Natal Sands (Pty) Ltd recovers high titania slag via the reductive smelting process while slag is used as a feedstock to the pigment industry and furnace dust from the gas cleaning plant is disposed as waste. Previous investigations have shown that such furnace dust can contain significant amount of titanium-bearing minerals. This study looks at the characteristics of the furnace dust obtained from Tronox KwaZulu Natal Sands and investigates a possible high temperature recovery route in detail. The furnace dust was examined by using x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction, microscopy and laser-diffraction size analyses. The characterization work showed that the furnace dust was rich in titanium and iron, containing 49.4 wt%2 and 29.5 wt%2 3. These oxides were associated with Si, Mn, K, and Al oxides as impurities. A Carbolite® vertical tube furnace was used to investigate the extent of formation of titania slag and metallic iron on a laboratory scale at 1500C, 1600C and 1650C. The laboratory reduction tests revealed that the slag samples with an equivalent titanium dioxide content ranging from 70.9 -76.9 wt% at 1600C and 1650C could be obtained. The Fe content of the metallic iron samples produced ranged between 93.0 and 97.1 wt%. The experimental results were found to be in relatively good agreement with the FactSage simulations, both of which demonstrated the potential of producing a titania slag and a metallic iron from the furnace dust.
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