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High Temperature Pressure Oxidation of a Low-Grade Nickel Sulfide Concentrate with Control of the Residue Composition

CSIRO Mineral Resources, PO Box 7229, Karawara, WA 6152, Australia
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Minerals 2020, 10(3), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030249
Received: 14 February 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 1 March 2020 / Published: 9 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrometallurgical Processing of Base Metal Sulphides)
High temperature pressure oxidation of a low-grade nickel concentrate was examined to demonstrate the potential benefits and shortcomings of this approach. The high iron sulfide content ensured that acid generation was much greater than for higher grade concentrates. This results in the formation of basic iron sulfate phases and a significant amount of sulfuric acid. Kinetic sampling during pressure oxidation tests also demonstrated the transformation of sulfide minerals, including the oxidative transformations of pentlandite to violarite and then to vaesite, the latter phase not previously noted in studies of this kind. Finally, addition of a divalent metal sulfate buffer, here magnesium sulfate, mitigates the formation of basic iron sulfates but with greater generation of sulfuric acid in the leach liquor. Under the conditions employed in this study, this acid could be employed to leach other nickel-containing materials such as nickel laterites. View Full-Text
Keywords: nickel sulfide; vaesite; pressure oxidation; QXRD analysis; SEM/EDS analysis nickel sulfide; vaesite; pressure oxidation; QXRD analysis; SEM/EDS analysis
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McDonald, R.G.; Li, J.; Austin, P.J. High Temperature Pressure Oxidation of a Low-Grade Nickel Sulfide Concentrate with Control of the Residue Composition. Minerals 2020, 10, 249.

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