Zinc ferrite is considered an integral phase of zinc residues as their presence can render the processing of zinc and critical metals difficult. It is a refractory phase, formed at high temperature in the presence of zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) during oxidative roasting in zinc processing plants. Because it is refractory to efficient leaching, unreacted zinc ferrite gets concentrated in the final zinc residue, making it a viable source of zinc and indium extraction. The refractory nature of zinc ferrite makes the extraction of associated critical metals difficult. In order to explore a potential economic and carbon-neutral zinc ferrite processing technique, our previous study proposed the partial reduction of zinc ferrite followed by sulfuric acid leaching of the roasting product [1-3]. As demonstrated in our previous studies, partial reduction of zinc ferrite results in a mixture of ZnO, Fe3O4 and FeO, which can be further subjected to leaching for efficient extraction of zinc and critical metals such as gallium and indium.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:2167–2178, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-022-00661-6