Recovery of PGMS from mine sludge by leaching

Willie Nheta, Kutullo Mapotsane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


South Africa host massive deposits of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) in the Igneous Bushveld Complex. These deposits have been mined for a long time and in the process Mine sludge has been produced. It has been piled up and there is need to recover PGMs locked in it. The conventional way of processing PGMs has proved to be very difficult due to ultra-fines in the sludge that causes major loses during flotation. An alternative hydrometallurgical process for recovery of PGMs from a mine sludge by leaching using a mixture of hydrochloric acid and different oxidizing agents was investigated. It was found that the mine sludge contained 8.93 g/t Pt, 6.99 g/t Pd, 2.79 g/t Ru and minor percentages of Rh, Ir, and Au. It had a particle size distribution (PSD) of 84.64% passing 38 microns. Major mineral phases present are sphalerite, chalcopyrite, pentlandite, covellite, bornite, chromite, and silica as the main gangue. HCL + H2O2 (1:1) combination managed to leach all the PGMs and gold. HCL + Ferric Chloride (1:1) combination managed to leach Pt, Rh and Ru very well but it could not leach Pd. Further investigation on the optimization of the leaching conditions is being done.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Accreditation in Geosciences; Environmental Legislation, Multilateral Relations And Funding Opportunities
PublisherInternational Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9786197408263
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference, SGEM 2017 - Albena, Bulgaria
Duration: 29 Jun 20175 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameInternational Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference Surveying Geology and Mining Ecology Management, SGEM
ISSN (Print)1314-2704


Conference17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference, SGEM 2017


  • Leaching
  • Mine sludge
  • Oxidizing agents and platinum group metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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