The Fankou zinc concentrate (Guangdong province, China) was mineralogically characterized and results showed that the main germanium-bearing minerals in the sample comprised of zinc sulfide and galena, whereas gallium-bearing minerals were pyrite, sphalerite and silicate. Oxygen pressure leaching of zinc sulfide concentrate was carried out in order to investigate the effect of pressure, leaching time, sulfuric acid and copper concentrations on the leaching behavior of gallium and germanium. Under optimum conditions, leaching of Zn, Fe, Ge and Ga reached 98.21, 90.45, 97.45 and 96.65%, respectively. In the leach residues, it was determined that some new precipitates, such as PbSO4, CaSO4 and SiO2, were formed, which co-precipitated a certain amount of Ga and Ge from the leach solution. The results clearly indicated that Ga and Ge were much more difficult to leach than Zn, and provided answers to why the leaching efficiency of Ga is 10% lower when compared to Ge.
- Oxygen pressure leaching
- Zinc sulfide concentrate