Contact Us Lateritic nickel ore deposits - Wikipedia Lateritic nickel ore deposits are surficial, weathered rinds formed on ultramafic rocks. Southern African Mineral Beneficiation and Metallurgy.
Carrie Carlson Technical Writer While nickel is perhaps most commonly known for its use in coins, it is also an important material in many industrial processes.
Nickel is most widely used in the production of stainless steel. Traditionally, nickel has been processed from sulfide ores in an approach similar to copper processingin which the ore is upgraded to concentrates and then smelted. The Move to Nickel Laterites Sulfides have long supplied the bulk of the global appetite for nickel.
But Nickel lateritic ores resources combined with the need to mine at greater and subsequently less economic depths to obtain sulfide ores has many miners looking at nickel laterites.
Additionally, nickel is expected to see growth in demand as developing economies spur a greater need for stainless steel.
On top of that, the amount of nickel used in such batteries has been increasing in an effort to improve Nickel lateritic ores.
As such, the world is looking ahead at what can be done to maintain and likely increase a reliable and economic nickel supply. They are also close to the surface, unlike sulfide deposits, which are mined at much greater depths.
This abundance and ease of accessibility makes laterite ores an attractive option to the nickel industry. Lateritic Nickel Ore Processing While sulfide nickel ores are processed via upgrading to concentrates and then smelting, this approach is not applicable to laterite ores.
A variety of approaches are available to process nickel laterite ores, with the most prevalent approaches explained below.
The method s chosen is dependent on the composition of the unique ore source. Most laterite ore deposits are made up of both limonite iron rich and saprolite layers, with the thickness of each layer varying significantly across different deposits.
Limonite, which accounts for nearly double the amount of saprolite available globally, is more amenable to processing via hydometallurgical techniques, while saprolites are more amenable to processing via pyrometallurgy.
This process is often referred to as Leach Solvent Extraction — Electrowinning for its employment of a leaching step. This process has been gaining attention for low-grade ores after success of the process has been widely demonstrated in the copper industry.
It is now being implemented around the globe for the extraction of a variety of metals. A generalized overview of this process is given below.
Agglomeration and Leaching Leaching typically occurs via either high pressure acid leach HPAL or heap leaching, with HPAL operations seeing mixed success as a result of both technical and economic difficulties. An agglomeration step often precedes the heap leaching step.
In the agglomeration stage, ore fines are fed into an agglomeration drum aka ore drumwhere they are tumbled with the leachate solution to cause the ore fines to be more uniform in shape and size, allowing the leachate to more effectively percolate through the heap and jump-start the leaching process.
Agglomeration drum for a nickel ore heap leaching operation in SX-EW. Once agglomerated, ore is piled onto a heap, which is then irrigated with the leachate and allowed to sit for a pre-determined amount of time so the leachate can work its way to the bottom of the heap where it is collected in a pond.
Extraction and Electrowinning An extractant or reagent is then combined with the impregnated solution to extract the target metal, which can then be electrowon. The image shown here illustrates a generalized nickel SX-EW process with heap leaching and agglomeration click image to view larger.
As a pyrometallurgical technique, this method is best suited for ores that are predominantly saprolite. The RKEF method involves a variety of steps and is summarized below.
Drying Nickel laterites contain a significant amount of water, making drying an important aspect of processing. A rotary dryer is typically used to remove free moisture from the crushed ore, while bound moisture is removed later via a rotary kiln.
Nickel Ore Dryer Some novel processes may employ pelletizing at this stage of the process, where drying also facilitates pulverization of the ore in preparation of processing on a disc pelletizer. Pelletizing may also be used as a means of reintroducing recycle to the process.PT Vale produces nickel in matte, an intermediate product, from lateritic ores at our integrated mining and processing facilities near Sorowako on the island of Sulawesi.
Mineral resources in South America. South America is relatively rich in mineral resources.
Nickel is primarily extracted from the nickel sulfides pentlandite, pyrrhotite, and millerite, which contain about 1% nickel content, and the iron-containing lateritic ores limonite and garnierite, which contain about 4% nickel content. SBB's steel glossary is great for finding the definition for any steel term associated to the industry.
SCIENTISTS have developed a high tech process which could unlock billions of dollars worth of materials from the defunct nickel refinery near Townsville. Nickel is an important metal with the total global consumption of about 2 million tons per year which has grown rapidly since the s (Mackey, ).Nickel is sourced from two different types of .