High pressure acid leaching of Turkish laterites

Thesis Type: Post Graduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2011




The aim of this thesis study was to investigate and find the most cost effective way of extracting nickel and cobalt into the pregnant leach solution (PLS) from Gördes lateritic nickel and cobalt ore by means of sulphuric acid leaching under high temperature and high pressure conditions.The high pressure acid leach (HPAL) experiments were conducted with nontronitic and limonitic types of Gördes lateritic nickel ore, respectively. Leaching experiments of nontronite ore have shown that almost all of the nickel and cobalt contained in the nontronitic ore were easily extracted into the (PLS). Therefore, the rest of the experiments were concentrated on difficult to leach limonitic sample when compared with the nontronitic one, and higher nickel and cobalt extractions were aimed to be obtained. By taking economic and technical considerations into account, the basic (HPAL) process parameters for the limonitic sample were optimized as; leaching at 255 °C with a particle size of 100% -850 μ with 0.30 sulphuric acid to ore weight ratio in 1 hour of leaching duration. The experiments were conducted with 30% solids ratio and it was found that 87.3% of nickel and 88.8% of cobalt present in the limonitic ore could be extracted into the pregnant leach solution. Nevertheless, these results were found to be below the desired values. Therefore, the possible reasons of this behavior were investigated and the presence of hematite mineral in the limonitic ore was found to be the most probable one. Therefore, in order to dissolve the nickel and cobalt present in the hematite mineral, the additions of HCl, ferrous ions, cuprous ions and sulphur were tried, respectively and they were found to be beneficial in order to increase the degree of nickel and cobalt extractions