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Comment Separation Processes

A low-pressure process to leach metals from laterite ores

By Paul Grad |

Queensland Pacific Metals (Brisbane, Australia), a subsidiary of Pure Minerals (Perth, Australia; www.pureminerals.com.au) will use Direct Nickel Projects’ (Perth, Australia) proprietary technology to process New Caledonian nickel and cobalt ore, following favorable test results. Core Metallurgy (Brisbane, Australia) has assessed the leach characteristics of the core samples. Test work using the Direct Nickel process yielded 98% nickel, 98.1% cobalt, 95.4% aluminum, 96.1% iron, 95.3% magnesium, and 97.3% scandium. This was extracted from the samples that graded 1.70% nickel, 0.15% cobalt, 1.37% aluminum, 35.55% iron, 6.14% magnesium, and 40 parts per million scandium. Direct Nickel chief technologist Fiona McCarthy says the kinetic leach tests completed by Core Metallurgy are very encouraging. “Extraction levels are at the top level of leach tests we have completed on laterite ores around the world and the leach times also appear particularly short,” she says. Now, Queensland Pacific will conduct an extensive laboratory program of tests on the Direct Nickel process, and a continuous pilot plant trial will be carried out at the CSIRO Minerals’ facility in Western Australia. Direct Nickel’s technology uses nitric acid to…
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