Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals

Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals

1st Edition - July 18, 2011

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  • Authors: Frank Crundwell, Michael Moats, Venkoba Ramachandran, Tim Robinson, W. G. Davenport
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080968100
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780080974781

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This book describes and explains the methods by which three related ores and recyclables are made into high purity metals and chemicals, for materials processing. It focuses on present day processes and future developments rather than historical processes. Nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals are key elements for materials processing. They occur together in one book because they (i) map together on the periodic table (ii) occur together in many ores and (iii) are natural partners for further materials processing and materials manufacturing. They all are, for example, important catalysts – with platinum group metals being especially important for reducing car and truck emissions. Stainless steels and CoNiFe airplane engine super alloys are examples of practical usage. The product emphasises a sequential, building-block approach to the subject gained through the author’s previous writings (particularly Extractive Metallurgy of Copper in four editions) and extensive experience. Due to the multiple metals involved and because each metal originates in several types of ore – e.g. tropical ores and arctic ores this necessitates a multi-contributor work drawing from multiple networks and both engineering and science.

Key Features

  • Synthesizes detailed review of the fundamental chemistry and physics of extractive metallurgy with practical lessons from industrial consultancies at the leading international plants
  • Discusses Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals for the first time in one book
  • Reviews extraction of multiple metals from the same tropical or arctic ore
  • Industrial, international and multidisciplinary focus on current standards of production supports best practice use of industrial resources


Graduate students within extractive metallurgy and metallurgical engineering, Working professionals, including metallurgists and mining, chemical, plant or environmental engineers and researchers within industry, Stainless steel producers and Turbine experts

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    1. Overview
    1.1. Extraction of Nickel and Cobalt
    1.2. Extraction of Cobalt From Copper–COBALT Ores
    1.3. Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals From Sulfide Ores
    1.4. Recovering Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum-Group Metals From End-of-Use Scrap
    1.5. Organization of Major Themes and Topics
    1.6. Summary

    2. Nickel Production, Price, and Extraction Costs
    2.1. Applications of Nickel
    2.2. Location of Nickel Mines and Extraction Plants
    2.3. Price of Nickel
    2.4. Costs of Nickel Extraction
    2.5. Summary

    3. Upgrading of Laterite Ores
    3.1. Laterite Ores
    3.2. Upgrading of Laterite Ores
    3.3. Extent of Upgrading
    3.4. Economic Justification for Upgrading Laterites
    3.5. Principles and Methods of Upgrading Laterites
    3.6. Evaluation
    3.7. Summary

    4. Overview of the Smelting of Nickel Laterite to Ferronickel
    4.1. Feed to Ferronickel Smelting
    4.2. Ferronickel Product
    4.3. Principles of Ferronickel Smelting
    4.4. Brief Process Description

    5. Dewatering and Calcination of Laterite Ores
    5.1. Dewatering of the Upgraded Laterite Ore
    5.2. Control of the Dewatering Kiln
    5.3. Calcination and Reduction of Dewatered Laterite
    5.4. Chemistry
    5.5. Products
    5.6. Appraisal
    5.7. Summary

    6. Smelting of Laterite Ores to Ferronickel
    6.1. reactions in the Electric Furnace
    6.2. Nickel Recovery
    6.3. Melting Temperatures
    6.4. Industrial Smelting Furnaces
    6.5. Method of Heating the Furnace
    6.6. Electrodes
    6.7. Furnace Operation
    6.8. Control
    6.9. Appraisal and Future Trends
    6.10. Summary

    7. Refining Molten Ferronickel
    7.1. Phosphorus Removal
    7.2. Sulfur Removal
    7.3. Industrial Refining
    7.4. Removing Other Impurities
    7.5. Casting of Ferronickel
    7.6. Appraisal
    7.7. Summary

    8. Smelting Laterite Concentrates to Sulfide Matte
    8.1. Matte Production Flowsheets
    8.2. Pt Inco Process
    8.3. Le Nickel Process – Making Matte from Molten Refined Ferronickel
    8.4. Process Appraisal
    8.5. Summary

    9. Roasting Matte to Nickel Oxide and Metal
    9.1. Matte Roasting Objectives
    9.2. Chemistry
    9.3. Products
    9.4. Industrial Roasting
    9.5. Re-Roasting
    9.6. Fluidization
    9.7. Advantages Of Fluidized Beds
    9.8. Industrial Operation
    9.9. Reduction Roasting
    9.10. Nickel Recovery
    9.11. Sulfur Capture
    9.12. Summary

    10. Overview of the Hydrometallurgical Processing of Laterite Ores
    10.1. Introduction
    10.2. Alternatives to Mixed Sulfide Precipitation
    10.3. Downstream Processing
    10.4. Summary

    11. High-Temperature Sulfuric Acid Leaching of Laterite Ores
    11.1. Chapter Objectives
    11.2. Sulfuric Acid Leaching
    11.3. Chemistry
    11.4. Autoclave Operation
    11.5. Process Appraisal
    11.6. Summary

    12. Precipitation Of Nickel−Cobalt Sulfide
    12.1. Reasons for Making a Mixed-Sulfide Precipitate
    12.2. Flowsheet
    12.3. Autoclave Exit Slurry Neutralization
    12.4. Solution Reneutralization
    12.5. Removal of Zinc and Copper From Solution by Sulfide Precipitation
    12.6. Precipitation of Nickel−Cobalt Sulfide
    12.7. Product Destination
    12.8. Appraisal
    12.9. Summary

    13. Extraction of Nickel and Cobalt from Sulfide Ores
    13.1. Nickel Sulfide Ores
    13.2. Extraction of Nickel and Cobalt from Sulfide Ores
    13.3. Hydrometallurgical Alternatives to Matte Smelting
    13.4. Voisey's Bay Process for Leaching Nickel Concentrates
    13.5. Heap Leaching of Nickel Sulfide Ore
    13.6. Summary

    14. Production of Nickel Concentrates from Sulfide Ores
    14.1. The Advantages of Grinding and Concentration
    14.2. Crushing and Grinding
    14.3. Comminution Steps
    14.4. Control of Particle Size
    14.5. Recent Developments
    14.6. Summary

    15. Production of Nickel Concentrate from Ground Sulfide Ore
    15.1. Need for Concentration
    15.2. Principles of Froth Flotation
    15.3. Flotation Cells
    15.4. Flotation Chemicals
    15.5. Specific Flotation Procedures for Pentlandite Ores
    15.6. Flotation Products
    15.7. Operation and Control
    15.8. Recent Developments
    15.9. Summary

    16. Separation of Chalcopyrite from Pentlandite by Flotation
    16.1. Chapter Objectives
    16.2. Separation of Chalcopyrite and Pentlandite
    16.3. Industrial Practice
    16.4. Grinding
    16.5. Summary

    17. Smelting of Nickel Sulfide Concentrates by Roasting and Electric Furnace Smelting
    17.1. Principles of Roasting and Smelting
    17.2. Chemistry of Roasting
    17.3. Electric Furnace Smelting
    17.4. Industrial Electric Furnaces
    17.5. Summary

    18. Flash Smelting of Nickel Sulfide Concentrates
    18.1. Objective of the Process – Nickel Enrichment
    18.2. Advantages and Disadvantages
    18.3. Extent of Oxidation
    18.4. Chemistry
    18.5. Industrial Flash Smelting
    18.6. Outotec-Type Flash Furnace
    18.7. Inco-Type Flash Furnace
    18.8. Peripheral Equipment
    18.9. Operation and Control of the Flash Furnace
    18.10. Appraisal
    18.11. Recent Trends
    18.12. Summary

    19. Converting – Final Oxidation of Iron From Molten Matte
    19.1. Starting and Finishing Compositions
    19.2. Chemistry of Converting
    19.3. Principles of Converting
    19.4. Behavior of Other Metals
    19.5. Choice of Final Iron Content
    19.6. End-Point Determination
    19.7. Capture of Sulfur Dioxide
    19.8. Tuyeres and Oxygen Enrichment
    19.9. Nitrogen-Shrouded Blast Injection
    19.10. Converter Control
    19.11. Alternatives to Peirce-Smith Converting
    19.12. Direct to Low-Iron Matte Flash Smelting
    19.13. Summary

    20. Sulfur Dioxide Capture in Sulfuric Acid and Other Products
    20.1. Nickel Extraction Offgases
    20.2. Production of Sulfuric Acid from Roaster and Flash Furnace Offgases
    20.3. Gas Cooling, Cleaning, and Drying
    20.4. Oxidation of Sulfur Dioxide to Sulfur Trioxide
    20.5. Catalyst for the Oxidation of Sulfur Dioxide
    20.6. Making Acid from Sulfur Trioxide
    20.7. Double-Contact Acid-Making
    20.8. Acid Plant Products
    20.9. Environmental Performance of the Nickel Industry
    20.10. Making Sulfuric Acid for the Leaching of Nickel Laterite
    20.11. Summary

    21. Slow Cooling and Solidification of Converter Matte
    21.1. Solidification and Slow Cooling Process
    21.2. Industrial Matte Casting, Solidification and Slow Cooling
    21.3. Concentrate Destinations
    21.4. Summary

    22. Carbonyl Refining of Impure Nickel Metal
    22.1. Chemistry of the Process
    22.2. Industrial Ambient Pressure Carbonylation
    22.3. Decomposition of Nickel Carbonyl
    22.4. High-Pressure Carbonyl Refining
    22.5. Appraisal
    22.6. Summary

    23. Hydrometallurgical Production of High-Purity Nickel and Cobalt
    23.1. Refining of Sulfide Precipitates from Laterite Leaching Operations
    23.2. Refining of Nickel Mattes from Smelting Operations
    23.3. Appraisal
    23.4. Summary

    24. Leaching of Nickel Sulfide Mattes and Precipitates
    24.1. Chlorine Leaching
    24.2. Oxygen–Ammonia Leaching
    24.3. Leaching by Sulfuric Acid Solutions using Oxygen
    24.4. Appraisal
    24.5. Summary

    25. Separation of Nickel and Cobalt by Solvent Extraction
    25.1. Chapter Objectives
    25.2. Principles of Solvent Extraction
    25.3. Chloride Solvent Extraction
    25.4. Solvent Extraction in Sulfate Solutions
    25.5. Solvent Extraction in Ammoniacal Solutions
    25.6. Solvent Extraction in Sulfate and Chloride Solutions
    25.7. Diluents
    25.8. Washing and Scrubbing the Organic
    25.9. Impurity Removal
    25.10. Appraisal
    25.11. Summary

    26. Electrowinning of Nickel from Purified Nickel Solutions
    26.1. Objectives of this Chapter
    26.2. Electrowinning Nickel from Chloride Electrolyte
    26.3. Electrowinning Nickel from Sulfate Solutions
    26.4. New Developments in Nickel Electrowinning
    26.5. Other Electrolytic Nickel Processes
    26.6. Appraisal
    26.7. Summary

    27. Hydrogen Reduction of Nickel from Ammoniacal Sulfate Solutions
    27.1. Process Chemistry
    27.2. Industrial Applications
    27.3. Industrial Production of Nickel Powder
    27.4. Appraisal
    27.5. Summary

    28. Cobalt – Occurrence, Production, Use and Price
    28.1. Occurrence and Extraction
    28.2. Recycling of Cobalt
    28.3. Uses of Cobalt
    28.4. Global Mine Production
    28.5. Price
    28.6. Summary

    29. Extraction of Cobalt from Nickel Laterite and Sulfide Ores
    29.1. Cobalt Extraction from Nickel Laterite Ore
    29.2. Refining of Cobalt
    29.3. Extraction of Cobalt from Nickel Sulfide Ores
    29.4. Summary

    30. Production of Cobalt from the Copper–Cobalt Ores of the Central African Copperbelt
    30.1. Typical Ore Deposit
    30.2. Mining
    30.3. Extraction of Cobalt and Copper from Weathered Ore
    30.4. Exploiting the Cobalt–Copper Sulfide Ore Layer
    30.5. Summary

    31. Platinum-Group Metals, Production, Use and Extraction Costs
    31.1. Uses of the Platinum-Group Elements
    31.2. Mining of Platinum-Group Elements
    31.3. Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals
    31.4. Prices
    31.5. Costs of Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals
    31.6. Summary

    32. Overview of the Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals

    33. Production of Flotation Concentrates Containing Platinum-Group Metals
    33.1. Ores and Concentrates
    33.2. Ores Containing Platinum-Group Metals
    33.3. South African Ores Containing Platinum-Group Metals
    33.4. Production of Flotation Concentrate from The Merensky Reef
    33.5. UG2 Ores and the Problem of Chromite
    33.6. Flotation Reagents and Conditions
    33.7. Improving Recovery of Platinum-Group Elements to Concentrate
    33.8. Gravity Separation
    33.9. Recent Developments
    33.10. Summary

    34. Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals from Russian Ores
    34.1. Nickel Copper and Platinum Ores from Norilsk-Talnakh
    34.2. Russian Production
    34.3. Recent Developments
    34.4. Summary

    35. Smelting and Converting of Sulfide Concentrates Containing Platinum-Group Metals
    35.1. Major Process Steps
    35.2. Concentrate Drying
    35.3. Smelting the Concentrates
    35.4. Converting the Furnace Matte
    35.5. Recent Developments in Smelting and Converting in The Platinum Industry
    35.6. Summary

    36. Separation of the Platinum-Group Metals from Base Metal Sulfides, and the Refining of Nickel, Copper and Cobalt
    36.1. Overview of the Refining of the Platinum-Group Metals
    36.2. Objectives of This Chapter
    36.3. Base Metal Refineries Where Nickel is Produced as Nickel Sulfate
    36.4. Base Metal Refineries Where Nickel is Produced as Powder by Hydrogen Reduction
    36.5. Base Metals Refinery Where Nickel is Produced as Nickel Cathode
    36.6. Appraisal
    36.7. Summary

    37. Refining of the Platinum-Group Metals
    37.1. Objectives of this Chapter
    37.2. Concentrate Composition
    37.3. Separation Techniques Used in the Refining of the Platinum-Group Metals
    37.4. Refining Efficiency
    37.5. Classification of Refining Processes
    37.6. Lonmin's Western Platinum Refinery
    37.7. Krastsvetmet's Refinery at Krasnoyarsk
    37.8. Appraisal of the Precipitation Processes
    37.9. The Johnson Matthey/Anglo American Platinum Process
    37.10. The Acton Refinery Process
    37.11. Appraisal of the Solvent-Extraction Processes
    37.12. Impala Platinum's Ion-Exchange Process
    37.13. Appraisal of the Ion-Exchange Processes
    37.14. Summary

    38. Recycling of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum-Group Metals
    38.1. Recycling of Platinum-Group Metals from Automobile Catalyst
    38.2. Recycling of Nickel in Stainless Steel
    38.3. Recycling of Cobalt
    38.4. Summary

    Appendix A. Ferronickel Smelting of Non-Tropical Laterite Ores
    Appendix B. Caron Process for Processing Nickel Laterites
    Appendix C. Flash Cooling of Autoclaves
    Appendix D. Counter-Current Decantation of Leaching Slurries
    Appendix E. Recovering Nickel-, Copper-, Cobalt- and Platinum-Group Elements from Slags
    Appendix F. Electrorefining of High-Purity Nickel from Cast Impure Ni Alloy and Ni Matte Anodes
    Appendix G. Top Blown Rotary Converter
    Appendix H. Nickel Carbonylation Free Energies and Equilibrium Constants

Product details

  • No. of pages: 622
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2011
  • Published: July 18, 2011
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080968100
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780080974781

About the Authors

Frank Crundwell

Editorial board of the journal “Hydrometallurgy” and been an assistant editor.

I lectured hydrometallurgy for ten years while at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

I have numerous publications in the fields that make up hydrometallurgy - leaching, electrometallurgy, electrochemistry, bacterial leaching.

I have worked in the field for nearly thirty years. I have run a professional consultancy working in the field of hydrometallurgy for the last ten years.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director, CM Solutions, Parklands, South Africa

Michael Moats

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Utah, UT, USA

Venkoba Ramachandran

Affiliations and Expertise

Ram consultants, AZ, USA

Tim Robinson

Affiliations and Expertise

Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company

W. G. Davenport

Professor William George Davenport is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and the Royal School of Mines, London. Prior to his academic career he worked with the Linde Division of Union Carbide in Tonawanda, New York. He spent a combined 43 years of teaching at McGill University and the University of Arizona.

His Union Carbide days are recounted in the book Iron Blast Furnace, Analysis, Control and Optimization (English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Spanish editions).

During the early years of his academic career he spent his summers working in many of Noranda Mines Company’s metallurgical plants, which led quickly to the book Extractive Metallurgy of Copper. This book has gone into five English language editions (with several printings) and Chinese, Farsi and Spanish language editions.

He also had the good fortune to work in Phelps Dodge’s Playas flash smelter soon after coming to the University of Arizona. This experience contributed to the book Flash Smelting, with two English language editions and a Russian language edition and eventually to the book Sulfuric Acid Manufacture (2006), 2nd edition 2013.

In 2013 co-authored Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals, which took him to all the continents except Antarctica.

He and four co-authors are just finishing up the book Rare Earths: Science, Technology, Production and Use, which has taken him around the United States, Canada and France, visiting rare earth mines, smelters, manufacturing plants, laboratories and recycling facilities.

Professor Davenport’s teaching has centered on ferrous and non-ferrous extractive metallurgy. He has visited (and continues to visit) about 10 metallurgical plants per year around the world to determine the relationships between theory and industrial practice. He has also taught plant design and economics throughout his career and has found this aspect of his work particularly rewarding. The delight of his life at the university has, however, always been academic advising of students on a one-on-one basis.

Professor Davenport is a Fellow (and life member) of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum and a twenty-five year member of the (U.S.) Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. He is recipient of the CIM Alcan Award, the TMS Extractive Metallurgy Lecture Award, the AusIMM Sir George Fisher Award, the AIME Mineral Industry Education Award, the American Mining Hall of Fame Medal of Merit and the SME Milton E. Wadsworth award. In September 2014 he will be honored by the Conference of Metallurgists’ Bill Davenport Honorary Symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia (his home town).

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Arizona, AZ, USA

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  • Saikat S. Mon May 14 2018

    A gem of a book

    One of the best books on the subject. Goes into technical detail but sticks to simple language, doesn’t get lost in excessive technical nomenclature.