Review of the past, present, and future of the hydrometallurgical production of nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores
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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