Chemical enrichment of precious metals in iron sulfides using microwave energy

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Magnetic iron sulfide ore particles heat rapidly by microwave (MW) irradiation generating plasma during oxidation of surfaces. The high temperatures produced by the exothermic event decompose local portions of samples forming a differentiated flux of partially melted silicate (si-mt) with entrained metal-sulfide (sul-mt) droplets. The si-mt forms crystals of olivine (Ol) in Ca-rich pyroxene (Cpx) melt that resorbs a portion of iron sulfide (Po). The immiscible sul-mt droplets of (Fe,Ni,Cu)1-xS contain magnetic subsolidus Ni-pyrrhotite (Ni-Po) with Cr-bearing ferrospinel (Mag). Sub-micron sized flecks of Au are found on the surface of a sul-mt droplet with scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Publication Title

TMS Annual Meeting