Recovery of Metal Values from Smelter Slags
Many mine sites, especially in Canada , contain thousands of tons of waste slag. This slag has been generally considered to be worthless in terms of metal content, and also inert so that it can be used, for example, in railway beds. Recent results at the University of Toronto have shown that some slags are neither inert nor valueless, and that valuable metal content can be economically extracted through the use of new techniques. The fact that the slags are in fact not inert, as has been generally assumed, also has profound environmental implications.
Researchers working with Dr. Vlademiros Papangelakis and Dr. Walter Curlook of the University of Toronto have developed a method for pressure-leaching of metals from waste slags. For many slags, this process can economically recover zinc, nickel, cobalt or copper. At the same time as recovering valuable metals, the new process would remove an environmental hazard from the slag leaching dangerous metals into groundwater as a result of exposure to acidic rainwater.
A Canadian patent application was filed in November 2001. It can be viewed on the website of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office as application # 2,363,969.
The Innovations Group is looking to partner with a company that is interested in further developing the technology and using it to recover valuable metals from waste slag
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