Separation and recovery of cobalt and nickel from sulfate solutions of Indian Ocean nodules using Cyanex 272

Reddy, B. R. ; Bhaskara Sarma, P. V. R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
A process for the separation and recovery of cobalt and nickel was optimized for a sulfate leach solution of Indian Ocean sea nodules containing 80 g/m3 cobalt and 730 g/m3 nickel using the sodium salt of Cyanex 272 as the extractant. Extraction of both cobalt and nickel increased with an increase in equilibrium pH and extractant concentration. The extracted species with respect to cobalt appears to be CoA2.3HA. More than 99.6% extraction of cobalt was achieved using 0.04M solvent in a three-stage counter current simulation at the A:O phase ratio of 3:2. The co-extraction of nickel was about 0.6% only. Two-stage countercurrent stripping of cobalt from the loaded organic at an A:O ratio of 1: 7 resulted in a pregnant electrolyte enriched by 0.8 kg/m3, thus enabling a ten times overall enrichment of cobalt. From the cobalt free raffinate, nickel extraction was carried out using 0.25M solvent in two countercurrent stages, and the extraction showed a 99.8% recovery. Stripping of nickel from the loaded solvent was carried out at an equal phase ratio with the advance electrolyte of pH 1.75 in two countercurrent stages. The nickel stripping efficiency was found to be 98.8%. The present studies indicated that complete recovery of cobalt and nickel was possible using nine counter-current stages.
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