Nickel production in Serbia-technological and environmental aspects
Keywords:nickel laterite, HPAL, sustainability, environmental impact
Demand for nickel is constantly growing due to the versatility of its application, at the first place for stainless steel production. Ore reserves and possibility of nickel production of today’s Serbia and in neighboring countries were thoroughly investigated, and presented work is part of a wider project of sublimation of scientific and professional experience in the field of nickel extractive metallurgy on domestic raw materials. Presented research explores the possibility of high pressure sulfuric acid leaching of Serbian lateritic ores from localities Rudjinci, Ba and Lipovac. All three investigated ore deposits behaved differently both during preparation and during hydrometallurgical treatment. As optimal method for ore preparation proved to be crushing-milling-sieving route, but without possibility of concentrate production. Only for Rudjinci ore deposit achieved leaching efficiency reached satisfactory level of 95%. Within presented paper flow-sheet is proposed for processing high-magnesium laterite ores, with iron and magnesium oxide Both could be recirculated and used again in technological process; MgO for iron precipitation and SO2 for production of leaching agent, sulfuric acid. Final decision on the sustainability of the process will be made according to techno-economic and environmental evaluation. Estimated overall impact of the project implementation on the environment is negative.
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