Two-stage thermal treatment of nickel sulfide concentrates for nickel extraction

Extraction of nickel from sulfide ores is associated with generation of massive amounts of sulfur dioxide which are either released to the atmosphere, with severe adverse environmental effect, or are captured and fixed as sulfuric acid at significant cost. The team has successfully demonstrated that Ni-containing sulfide minerals can be subjected to a thermal treatment process to precipitate the Ni as ferronickel (FeNi) alloy particles, with little to no release of sulfur in any form.

This novel method of Ni extraction promises a breakthrough by significantly reducing sulfur dioxide emission, which is a major environmental pollutant with mitigation representing a significant cost. Further, the operating temperature in the new process is considerably lower than the conventional smelting techniques; hence the promise of lower energy consumption and plant capital cost. Finally, the product of this method is ferronickel that is directly usable in the manufacture of stainless steels, which constitutes greater than 60% of worldwide Ni market.




, Cleantech

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