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Integrated Operation of Ferric Chloride Leaching, Molten-salt Electrolysis Process for Production of Lead.

Wong MM; Sandberg RG; Elges CH; Fleck DC
MISSING :21 pages
The Bureau of Mines, under a cooperative research program with four lead companies, has investigated a nonsmelting process for the production of lead metal. The process, which would eliminate sulfur dioxide generation and minimize particulate lead emissions, involves ferric chloride leaching of galena concentrate to produce lead chloride, followed by molten-salt electrolysis of the lead chloride to yield lead metal and chlorine. This chlorine is used to regenerate ferric chloride in the leaching solution. The process was tested in an experimental unit with a capacity of 500 lb of lead metal per day. The tests were performed in three 10-day and six 5- day campaigns, during a period spanning 28 mo. The study was carried out using a southeastern Missouri lead concentrate. Typical lead recovery was about 98 pct. Process problems related to impurity buildup and control were studied. When copper and silver impurities were removed from the leaching solution, a lead metal purity of 99.999 pct was obtained. Lead-in-air levels and lead-in- blood levels of operating personnel were monitored. The process has potential for producing lead with minimum pollution, but is not ready for commercial utilization. Operation of a prototype commercial electrolytic cell and a full-scale pilot-plant investigation by industry are needed to evaluate the commercial viability of the process.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
RI 8770
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division