The presence of a considerable amount of scandium in lateritic nickel-cobalt ores necessitates the investigation of possible processing alternatives to recover scandium as a byproduct during nickel and cobalt production. Therefore, in this study, rather than interfering with the main nickel-cobalt production circuit, the precipitation-separation behavior of scandium during a pH-controlled precipitation process from a synthetically prepared solution was investigated to adopt the Sc recovery circuit into an already existing hydrometallurgical nickel-cobalt hydroxide processing plant. The composition of the synthetic solution was determined according to the hydrometallurgical nickel laterite ore processing streams obtained from a HPAL (high-pressure sulphuric acid leaching) process. In order to selectively precipitate and concentrate scandium with minimum nickel and cobalt co-precipitation, the pH of the solution was adjusted by CaCO3
, MgO, Na2
and NaOH. It was found that precipitation with MgO or Na2
is more advantageous to obtain a precipitate containing higher amounts of scandium with minimum mass when compared to the CaCO3
route, which makes further processing more viable. As a result of this study, it is proposed that by a simple pH-controlled precipitation process, scandium can be separated from the nickel and cobalt containing process solutions as a byproduct without affecting the conventional nickel-cobalt hydroxide production. By further processing this scandium-enriched residue by means of leaching, SX (solvent extraction), and precipitation, an intermediate (NH4
product can be obtained.
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