On the Kinetic Behavior of Recycling Precious Metals (Au, Ag, Pt, and Pd) Through Copper Smelting Process

Xingbang Wan, Lotta Kleemola, Lassi Klemettinen, Hugh O’Brien, Pekka Taskinen, Ari Jokilaakso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


The recycling and recovery of precious metals from secondary materials, such as waste-printed circuit boards, are an important area of circular economy research due to the limited existing resources and increasing amount of e-waste produced by the rapid development of technology. In this study, the kinetic behavior of precious metals Au, Ag, Pt, and Pd between copper matte and iron-silicate slag was investigated at a typical flash smelting temperature of 1300 °C in both air and argon atmospheres. SEM–EDS, EPMA, and LA-ICP-MS-advanced analysis methods were used for sample characterization. The results indicate that precious metals favor the matte phase over slag, and the deportment to matte occurred swiftly within a short time after the system had reached the experimental temperature. With increasing contact times, the precious metals were distributed increasingly into the sulfide matte. The distribution coefficients, based on experimentally measured element concentrations, followed the order of palladium > platinum > gold > silver in both air and argon, and the matte acted as an efficient collector of these precious metals. The obtained results can be applied to industrial copper matte smelting processes, and they also help in upgrading CFD models to simulate the flash smelting process more precisely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-931
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sustainable Metallurgy
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Distribution coefficients
  • Flash smelting
  • Iron-silicate slag
  • Recycling
  • WPCB


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