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Open AccessArticle

Concentration and Separation of Scandium from Ni Laterite Ore Processing Streams

IME Institute of Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling, RWTH Aachen University, 52056 Aachen, Germany
MEAB Chemie Technik GmbH, 52068 Aachen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2017, 7(12), 557;
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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, Na2CO3, and NaOH. It was found that precipitation with MgO or Na2CO3 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)2NaScF6 product can be obtained. View Full-Text
Keywords: laterites; scandium; leaching; precipitation; solvent extraction laterites; scandium; leaching; precipitation; solvent extraction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kaya, Ş.; Dittrich, C.; Stopic, S.; Friedrich, B. Concentration and Separation of Scandium from Ni Laterite Ore Processing Streams. Metals 2017, 7, 557.

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