Ocean polymetallic nodules are oxide ores rich in Ni, Co, Cu, and Mn, which are valuable metals found in deep-sea mineral resources. Such non-ferrous metals do not exist in isolation, and producing concentrates using conventional mineral separation techniques is challenging without pre-treatment. We propose an effective, environmentally-friendly recovery technology combined with solid-state metalized reduction treatment and magnetic separation to recycle these metals from ocean polymetallic nodules. We conducted single-factor tests to investigate the effects of additives, anthracite dosage, duration, and reduction temperature on metal recovery and to obtain optimal operating parameters. We found that valuable metals in ocean polymetallic nodules may be selectively reduced to a metallic state. Only a fraction of Mn was reduced to metal. The reduced metals were recovered to concentrates using magnetic separation. More than 80% of these metals were concentrated to magnetic concentrates with mass ratios of 10–15%. The recovery rates of Ni, Co, Cu, Mn, and Fe in concentrates were optimum at 86.48%, 86.74%, 83.91%, 5.63%, and 91.46%, respectively, when using CaF2
4%, anthracite 7%, SiO2
dosage 5%, and FeS 6% at 1100 °C for 2.5 h. This approach to non-ferrous metal extraction using conventional hydrometallurgical processes could be a step toward practical industrial-scale techniques for the recovery of metals from polymetallic nodules.
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