Home Product Knowledge Hydrometallurgy Process of Laterite Nickel

Hydrometallurgy Process of Laterite Nickel

2023-04-18 Xinhai (183)

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Hydrometallurgy is a commonly used process for the extraction of nickel from laterite ores. The process involves leaching the ore with an acidic or alkaline solution to dissolve the nickel and other metals, followed by the separation and purification of the nickel. The hydrometallurgical process of laterite nickel can be divided into two main methods: acid leaching and ammonia leaching.

Acid leaching: The acid leaching process involves the use of sulfuric acid as the leaching agent. In this process, laterite ore is mixed with sulfuric acid in a pressure vessel to extract the nickel. The resultant nickel sulfate solution is then purified and separated from other impurities. The purified solution is then treated with a reducing agent to precipitate the nickel as nickel hydroxide. This is then calcined to produce nickel oxide, which is subsequently reduced to produce nickel metal.

Ammonia leaching: The ammonia leaching process involves the use of ammonia as the leaching agent. In this process, laterite ore is mixed with ammonia solution and air to extract the nickel. The resultant nickel-ammonia solution is then purified and separated from other impurities. The purified solution is then treated with a reducing agent to precipitate the nickel as nickel hydroxide. This is then calcined to produce nickel oxide, which is subsequently reduced to produce nickel metal.

Advantages and disadvantages: The acid leaching process is widely used and has the advantage of being relatively simple and effective for the extraction of nickel from laterite ores. However, the process requires the use of large amounts of sulfuric acid, which can be costly and environmentally damaging. In addition, the process is often slow and can result in low nickel recoveries.

The ammonia leaching process is a relatively new method and has the advantage of being less corrosive and more environmentally friendly than the acid leaching process. The process also has the potential to recover other valuable metals such as cobalt, copper, and platinum group metals. However, the process is more complex and can be less efficient than the acid leaching process.

In conclusion, both acid leaching and ammonia leaching are effective methods for the extraction of nickel from laterite ores, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of method will depend on a variety of factors, including the ore type, the desired end product, and economic considerations.


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