Copper and zinc used in all daily products end up in the waste bin and are thermally treated and converted to electrical energy. Also, a great part of these consumer products containing these metals are treated by scrap processing companies. After incineration the residue bottom ash is created from which the metals are recovered using physical separation technologies. Widely used separation methods are based on magnetic separation for ferrous metals, eddy current separation for non-ferrous metals and gravity separation to upgrade the non-ferrous mixture into an alumina product and a so called “heavy-non-ferrous” flow. Also scrap processing companies are using these technologies amongst others to create light- and heavy-non-ferrous mixtures which can be sold to the (pyro) metallurgical industry. The LIFE PCR projects aims to refine zinc and copper from these heavy-non-ferrous mixtures by a new concept consisting of physical and hydrometallurgical separation.
Demonstration Phase 1
Zinc particles end up in this heavy-non-ferrous mixture. The demonstration during phase 1 is focusing on the recovery of zinc from flows having particle sizes <12mm, which can be separated and further concentrated using sorting technologies. During phase 1 zinc will be sorted from the heavy-non-ferrous mixture resulting in a granular zinc concentrate and a copper concentrate.
The zinc concentrate will be selectively leached in the LIFE PCR phase 1 demonstration and converted into a zinc derivative product which can be sold to other zinc processing companies. Copper particles ending up in the zinc flow through the physical sorting step will remain as leach residue and can be added back to the copper concentrate.
Demonstration Phase 2
Demonstration phase 2 will be focusing on the recovery of copper and zinc from zinc and brass. Heavy-non-ferrous mixtures containing zinc and brass particles can be sorted again into a zinc/brass concentrate and a copper concentrate. The zinc/brass concentrate will form the input again for LIFE PCR phase 2 demonstration.
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