Recycling of tellurium via copper smelting processes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSN Applied Sciences. 2020, 2 (3), . 10.1007/s42452-020-2137-1
The modern world continuously demands more raw materials for manufacturing all kinds of products. Nowadays, the lifetime of a single product can be very short, as is the case with electronic appliances. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste categories, and one of the most promising recycling routes for WEEE is to use it as a feed material in pyrometallurgical copper smelting. This article presents new experimental observations regarding the behavior of tellurium in secondary copper smelting process, and compares the results to primary smelting experiments. In secondary smelting conditions, most of tellurium distributed into the copper phase, and the distribution coefficient between copper and slag decreased with increasing oxygen partial pressure. In the primary smelting experiments, most of tellurium was vaporized into flue dusts, and the distribution coefficient between copper matte and slag increased with increasing oxygen pressure, i.e. increasing matte grade.