2003 Volume 43 Issue 2 Pages 181-186
The laterite ore with low nickel content deposits in Indonesia can be expected to be an alternative raw material of iron making due to its high iron content. One of the required processes is the separation of nickel and cobalt from the laterite ore by leaching it with H2SO4 at the atmospheric condition. The sample containing 50.88% iron, 0.03% cobalt and 0.30% nickel was selectively reduced with CO/CO2 mixed gas to obtain metallic nickel and cobalt, as well as magnetite from hematite. Accordingly, in the leaching process metallic nickel and cobalt will be dissolved by controlling the iron dissolving. The effects of various parameters have been examined. These condition include leaching time, temperature (303-343 K), H2SO4 concentration (0.005-1.0) mol/l, as well as extraction rate of nickel.
The result of the analysis indicated that the influence of selective reduction could speed up the nickel extraction and obstructed the iron dissolution. The extraction rate of nickel was very high for small particle and slower for larger size. The optimal condition of the test was obtained at the leaching temperature of 343 K, 0.05 mol/l H2SO4 with a sample lower than 4.0 g/l. In 60 min after the test, about 93 mass% of nickel was extracted from the sample smaller than 44 µm. The nickel extraction would be higher by adding the leaching time. The rate of extraction was chemically controlled and the apparent activation energy was 42.2 kJ/mol. At the end of the leaching process, there was residual solid rich-magnetite and minimal nickel.