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Ammoniacal Carbonate Leaching: Effect of Dissolved Sulfur in the Distillation Operation

Armando Rojas Vargas, María Elena Trujillo Nieves, Yudith González Diaz


The distillation process in the Ammoniacal Carbonate Leaching technology was studied at bench-scale and on industrial scale. The dissolved sulfur effect in the Product-liquor that feeds to the columns, on the Basic Nickel Carbonate (BNC) properties and the operation expenses was determined. When increasing the sulfur in the liquor, we augment the selectivity towards the sulfate formation in the BNC molecule; therefore the energy consumption to the BNC thermal decomposition in the calcination process increases. Also, the nickel dissolved in the columns effluent increases due to complex reaction with [SO42-] and [S2O32-] ions, thus the expenses for consumption precipitation reagent increase too. Feeding carbonated liquor in the range 1.60 ≤ NH3/CO2 < 1.80 and CO2-rich solution increases the CO2 in the BNC with decreasing in sulfate; then, the mean diameter particle increases, the filtration resistance and the cake moisture diminish, which augments the productivity and reduces the energy consumption in the process of filtration and calcination. Keeping a pH between 8.4 and 8.7 in the columns outlet the greatest economic benefit is obtained of 0,125 ($·h-1) per (m3·h-1) of Product-liquor.


Basic Nickel Carbonate; steam-stripped columns; sulfur; leaching

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