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Oxidative precipitation recovers nickel and cobalt from ore

By Paul Grad |

An alternative method for processing mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate to separate the nickel from cobalt and manganese has been proposed by a team from the Bandung Institute of Technology (Bandung, Indonesia; www.itb.ac.id), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Bandung) and the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia). Most existing process plants for nickel laterite ores use intermediate precipitation processes to recover the nickel and cobalt from the leach solution. The precipitation produces an intermediate product of nickel and cobalt, either as mixed sulfide precipitate (MSP) or mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), while largely separating nickel and cobalt from impurities such as manganese, calcium and magnesium. Mixed sulfite precipitation processes have a higher selectivity for nickel and cobalt over manganese and magnesium, resulting in a lower level of impurities compared with mixed hydroxide precipitation. However, the operation of sulfide precipitation processes is relatively expensive and complex because they require use of hazardous hydrogen sulfide gas at high temperatures and pressures. The hydroxide precipitation process is, therefore, favorable over sulfide precipitation, especially for simpler processing…
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