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Open AccessArticle

Concentration and Separation of Scandium from Ni Laterite Ore Processing Streams

1
IME Institute of Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling, RWTH Aachen University, 52056 Aachen, Germany
2
MEAB Chemie Technik GmbH, 52068 Aachen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2017, 7(12), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/met7120557
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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