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In spite of significant economic value, the solubilities of the platinum group and precious metals in metallurgical copper smelting slags are not well known. Recent experimental information on iron-free and low-iron silicate melts indicates that the chemical solubility of platinum is very low, < 1 ppmw (part per million weight). In this study, the concentration of platinum in alumina spinel-saturated iron silicate slags in equilibrium with a solid iron-platinum alloy was measured as a function of oxygen partial pressure at 1300°C. The results were converted to unit activity of platinum by the thermodynamic properties of the iron-platinum alloy formed. This allowed the mechanism of dissolution of platinum in the slag and the forms of platinum species in alumina-rich iron silicate slags in copper scrap smelting and refining conditions to be obtained. Our findings explain some inconsistent results in the geochemical literature by proposing an anionic dissolution mechanism at low oxygen partial pressures in iron-containing silicate slags.
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