The U.S. Bureau of Mines has conducted investigations on extracting phosphate values from wastes generated during the mining and beneficiation of phosphate matrix. These wastes may contain up to one third of the phosphate originally present in untreated ore. Samples of wastes were air-dried and leached using 93 pct sulfuric acid in the presence of methanol. Evidence for the formation of a calcium sulfate hemihydrate coating that hinders complete dissolution of phosphate is presented. Solid-liquid separations were enhanced when flocculation was effected using poly(ethylene oxide)(peo) in conjunction with hydroxypropyl cellulose (hpc) or hydroxyethyl cellulose (hec). A conceptual flowsheet for a proposed process using an acid-alcohol leaching technique is presented.
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