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Comment Separation Processes

Vanadium recovery from steel slag scales up

By Mary Page Bailey |

A hydrometallurgical process for recovering vanadium from slag, a byproduct of steelmaking, has been significantly scaled up. Previously deployed at mini-pilot and bench scales, the process, developed by Neometals Ltd. (West Perth, Australia; www.neometals.com.au), has now been expanded by a factor of 25, to process 14 tons of slag (corresponding to a throughput of around 25 kg/h) from three different steel mills operated by SSAB (Stockholm, Sweden; www.ssab.com). In this demonstration project, vanadium recovery rates exceeded 75% at steady state, with over 99.5% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) purity. This hydrometallurgical approach has advantages over traditional, energy-intensive pyrometallurgical approaches to vanadium recovery, which involve incineration, smelting and high-temperature reactions. The process (diagram) begins with comminution of the slag, followed by multiple leaching steps using alkaline carbonate process water, resulting in a solids residue that is filtered, repulped and washed to recover any additional soluble vanadium. The vanadium-bearing pregnant leach solution (PLS) is subsequently filtered and fed to an extraction unit, which employs a vanadium-selective solvent to yield an alkaline vanadium solution, followed…
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