Process Options Using Solvent Extraction for the Processing of Laterites

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
The treatment of nickel ores and concentrates and the subsequent processing to recover separate products of nickel and cobalt is one of the major interests at present in the mining industry. The increasing demand for nickel, and more recently also cobalt, has led to increased exploration for ore sources. Major discoveries have resulted in Canada and Australia. These deposits, as well as others already known, are presently being developed and the process technology tested and evaluated for applicability to the different mineralogical types - mainly sulphide, arsenide and oxide laterites. Concentrates may be treated by either hydro- or pyrometallurgical processes, while the nickel laterites are best suited to hydrometallurgical processing. However, if hydrometallurgy is used, once the ore or concentrate is leached the resultant solutions are then amenable to similar separation technologies for purification and recovery of high purity nickel and cobalt products. Solvent extraction, together with other separation processes such as precipitation, can produce high purity solutions of nickel and cobalt. The final products of these solutions may be nickel and cobalt cathodes, metal powders precipitates or salts, depending on the final process of electrowinning, hydrogen reduction, precipitation, or crystallisation Respectively.
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