The dissolution behavior of iron and cobalt in ammoniacal ammonium carbonate solution has been investigated with the aid of Eh-pH diagrams for the Fe-NH3-H2O-CO3 and Co-NH3-H2O-CO3 systems, and electrochemical techniques such as open circuit potential measurements and potentiostatic and potentiodynamic polarization experiments. The polarization measurements indicate that both Fe and Co electrodes show active and passive behavior, and that Co dissolves at a more oxidizing potential than does Fe (e.g., E = -0.34 V (SHE) for Co and E = -0.52 V for Fe at a dissolution rate of 1 mA cm-2). The active and passive current densities for Co are both greater than for Fe. In sintered Fe-Co mixtures, the presence of Fe shifts the potential of the maximum current to less noble values and also lowers the magnitude of this current. In addition there is practically no cobalt dissolution when the potential exceeds 0.6 V (SHE). It is suggested that the well-known poor recovery of cobalt from reductive-roasted ferruginous oxide ores may be partly related to the dissolution behavior of a metallic alloy phase containing both iron and cobalt.
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