Sphalerite Zinc ores available in the earth crust contains sulphur and valuable metals like silver, cadmium, lead and some concentration of copper, mercury, arsenic, silicon and iron. Each metal is extracted with maximum purity by the combination operations like leaching, electrolysis, flotation, scrubbing, etc,. Byproduct like sulphuric acid utilised to produced fertiliser like superphosphate, by reacting the acid with phosphate rock.
To understand the process a simple block diagram is shown below which includes the important process step and connectivity of the operations in the zinc factory that operates based on hydrometallurgical technology.
An ideal process structure shown here to handle any zinc ore and based on the composition the unit are modified in real process plants.