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Metals 2015, 5(3), 1620-1644; doi:10.3390/met5031620

Nickel Extraction from Olivine: Effect of Carbonation Pre-Treatment

1
School of Applied Chemical and Environmental Sciences, Sheridan Institute of Technology, Brampton, ON L6Y 5H9, Canada
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven 3001, Belgium
3
School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
4
Department of Materials Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven 3001, Belgium
5
Innovation Concepts B.V., Twello 7391MG, The Netherlands
Contents of this paper also appear in the MetSoc of CIM Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium—Hydrometallurgy 2014, Volume II, pp. 755–767.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Suresh Bhargava and Rahul Ram
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 2 September 2015 / Accepted: 6 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrometallurgy)
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Abstract

In this work, we explore a novel mineral processing approach using carbon dioxide to promote mineral alterations that lead to improved extractability of nickel from olivine ((Mg,Fe)2SiO4). The precept is that by altering the morphology and the mineralogy of the ore via mineral carbonation, the comminution requirements and the acid consumption during hydrometallurgical processing can be reduced. Furthermore, carbonation pre-treatment can lead to mineral liberation and concentration of metals in physically separable phases. In a first processing step, olivine is fully carbonated at high CO2 partial pressures (35 bar) and optimal temperature (200 °C) with the addition of pH buffering agents. This leads to a powdery product containing high carbonate content. The main products of the carbonation reaction include quasi-amorphous colloidal silica, chromium-rich metallic particles, and ferro-magnesite ((Mg1−x,Fex)CO3). Carbonated olivine was subsequently leached using an array of inorganic and organic acids to test their leaching efficiency. Compared to leaching from untreated olivine, the percentage of nickel extracted from carbonated olivine by acid leaching was significantly increased. It is anticipated that the mineral carbonation pre-treatment approach may also be applicable to other ultrabasic and lateritic ores. View Full-Text
Keywords: nickel; olivine; mineral carbonation; leaching; ferro-magnesite; colloidal silica nickel; olivine; mineral carbonation; leaching; ferro-magnesite; colloidal silica
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Santos, R.M.; Van Audenaerde, A.; Chiang, Y.W.; Iacobescu, R.I.; Knops, P.; Van Gerven, T. Nickel Extraction from Olivine: Effect of Carbonation Pre-Treatment. Metals 2015, 5, 1620-1644.

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