A detailed design study of leaching and ancillary processes in the hydrometallurgical extraction of iron from iron bearing feedstocks

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A systematic survey of the possible methods of chemical extraction of iron by chloride formation has been presented and supported by a comparable study of :feedstocks, products and markets.
The generation and evaluation of alternative processes was carried out by the technique of morphological analysis vihich was exploited by way of a computer program.
The final choice was related to technical feasibility and economic viability, particularly capital cost requirements and developments were made in an estimating procedure for hydrometallurgjcal processes which have general applications.
The systematic exploration included the compilation of relevant data, and this indicated a need.to investigate precipitative hydrolysis or aqueous ferric chloride.
Arising from this study, two novel hydrometallurgical processes for manufacturing iron powder are proposed and experimental work was undertaken in the following .areas to demonstrate feasibility and obtain basic data for design purposes:
(1) Precipitative hydrolysis of aqueous ferric chloride.
(2) Gaseous chloridation of metallic iron, and oxidation of resultant ferrous chloride.
(3) Reduction of gaseous ferric chloride with hydrogen.
(4) Aqueous acid leaching of low grade iron ore.
(5) Aqueous acid leaching of metallic iron.

The experimentation was supported by theoretical analyses dealing with:
(1) Thermodynamics of hydrolysis.
(2) Kinetics of ore leaching.
(3) Kinetics of metallic iron leaching.
(4) Crystallisation of ferrous chloride.
(5) Oxidation of anhydrous ferrous chloride.
(6) Reduction of ferric chloride.

Conceptual designs are suggested fbr both the processes mentioned. These draw attention to areas where further work is necessary, which are listed.
Economic analyses have been performed which isolate significant cost areas, und indicate total production costs. Comparisons are mode with previous and analogous proposals for the production of iron powder.
Date of AwardApr 1971
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorG.V. Jeffreys (Supervisor)


  • Leaching
  • hydrometallurgical extraction
  • iron
  • feedstocks

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