Bio-Hydrometallurgical Extraction of Nickel from Low-Grade Laterite Nickel Ore

Document Type : Research Article


Faculty of the Mineral Processing Research Institute, Academic Center for Education, Culture & Research (ACECR) on TMU, Tehran, Iran.


The laterite deposit in the Bavanat area of Fars province is promising for nickel metal extraction. The ore is an oxide type and in this research, microbial leaching experiments were done using common bacteria (Thiobacillus) for nickel sulfide ores. Characterization of the sample showed that the nickel grade was about 1.14%, which was dispersed in the matrix of iron ores. In the microbial leaching process, primary experiments were carried out with a 9K culture medium that did not have favorable results. New experiments were carried out with the addition of required materials such as sulfur to culture media. Primary experiments with this culture media showed that after 20 days, 21% of the nickel in the ore sample was extracted. The effective parameters on microbial leaching include microbial leaching time, sulfur content added to the culture media, and mineral content that were optimized by this method. Optimal values for the above parameters were 10 days, 10%, and 10 g, respectively. The maximum amount of nickel extraction in optimum conditions reached 65%. After this step, iron impurities were removed from the solution of microbial leaching using a combination of precipitation (with sodium hydroxide) and solvent extraction method. Finally, the solution was subjected to solvent extraction which used a selective nickel organic solvent (Cyanex 301 is a highly selective solvent for a nickel) and a pure nickel solution with 112 ppm was obtained.


Main Subjects

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