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Acid leaching of nickel laterites in the presence of sulphur dioxide at atmospheric pressure

Das, G.K., Muir, D.M., Senanayake, G., Singh, P. and Hefter, G. (1997) Acid leaching of nickel laterites in the presence of sulphur dioxide at atmospheric pressure. In: Hydrometallurgy and Refining of Nickel and Cobalt, August 17-20, 1997, Montreal, QC Canada pp. 471-488.


Atmospheric acid leaching of a West Australian lateritic nickel ore and an Indian chromite overburden ore were found to be much more effective using sulphur dioxide as a reductant. The effect of acid concentration, SO2 and the catalytic behaviour of Cu(II) during leaching were examined. Aqueous SO2 alone readily leached cobalt and manganese with little iron, but nickel was leached by the addition of mineral acid in direct proportion to the dissolved iron. Kinetic treatment of the data indicate that the iron dissolution follows a shrinking sphere model. Leaching rates in three different acids were found to be in the order of HCl > H2SO4 > HClO4. The difference in acid reactivity appears to be mainly related to the speciation of Fe(II) and Fe(III), Eh of the solution and proton activity. An Eh-pH diagram has been constructed which considers the different species involved during reaction.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Chemical and Mathematical Science
Publisher: Elsevier
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