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Nickel Ore Processing | Copper-Nickel Sulphide & Nickel Oxide

2022-07-19 Xinhai (521)

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Nickel is an indispensable metal in the development of modern defense industry, aviation industry and the establishment of a modern system of high-quality material and cultural life for human beings.

With the development of society, the demand for nickel is increasing. Nickel ore is mainly divided into copper-nickel sulfide ore and nickel oxide ore. The physical and chemical properties of the two are different, and the beneficiation methods are also different.

Copper-Nickel Sulfide Ore Processing

The beneficiation of copper-nickel sulfide ore is mainly medium and lean ore with nickel content less than 3%. The rich ore with a nickel content of more than 3% can be directly smelted to obtain nickel.

The main beneficiation process of copper-nickel sulfide ore is flotation, and gravity separation and magnetic separation are usually used as auxiliary beneficiation methods.


According to the different properties of copper-nickel ore components, the flotation method can be roughly divided into the following four processes:

(1) Direct (or partial) preferential flotation process

This process is used to flotate copper into a separate concentrate in cases where the copper content of the ore is much higher than the nickel content;

(2) Mixed flotation process

When the copper content in the ore is lower than the nickel content, the copper and nickel are floated together to obtain a copper-nickel mixed concentrate;

(3) Mixed-preferential flotation process

Firstly, mixed flotation is used to obtain copper-nickel mixed concentrate, and then preferential flotation is used to separate copper concentrate and nickel concentrate from mixed concentrate;

(4) Mixed flotation - nickel recovery from tailings

This process can be selected when there is a large difference in the floatability of the nickel-bearing minerals in the ore. First, the copper and nickel are separated by mixed flotation. The nickel-containing minerals with poor flotation are recovered from the mixed flotation tailings.

Nickel Oxide Ore Processing

The development and utilization of nickel oxide ore is mainly based on laterite nickel ore, because nickel in nickel oxide ore is generally dispersed in gangue minerals in the form of isomorphism and the dissemination particle size is relatively fine. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain nickel concentrate directly by means of mechanical beneficiation, and it can only be directly smelted.

At present, the beneficiation methods of nickel oxide are mainly two kinds of pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy. Pyrometallurgy can be divided into nickel-iron method, granulated iron method, etc., and hydrometallurgy is divided into reduction roasting-atmospheric pressure ammonia leaching method, high-pressure acid leaching method, etc., which have been applied in industry.

The nickel ore beneficiation process is roughly the same as the above. For a mine, what kind of beneficiation method to use needs to be determined according to the composition and properties of the ore through the processing test.