Review of the past, present, and future of the hydrometallurgical production of nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores
Keywords:hydrometallurgy; laterites; nickel; cobalt
Laterite ores are becoming the most important global source of nickel and cobalt. Pyrometallurgical processing of the laterites is still a dominant technology, but the share of nickel and cobalt produced by the application of various hydrometallurgical technologies is increasing. Hydrometallurgy is a less energy-demanding process, resulting in lower operational costs and environmental impacts. This review covers past technologies for hydrometallurgical processing of nickel and cobalt (Caron), current technologies (high-pressure acid leaching, atmospheric leaching, heap leaching), developing technologies (Direct nickel, Neomet) as well as prospective biotechnologies (Ferredox process).
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