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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.108 n.4 Johannesburg Apr. 2008

 

JOURNAL PAPER

 

Calcium and magnesium rejection from sulphate solutions in lateritic nickel solvent extraction using Versatic 10 acid-LIX®84-IC system

 

 

B. Ndlovu; T. Mahlangu

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa

 

 


SYNOPSIS

The world mineral industry has over the years experienced growth in the production of nickel (Ni) due to its use not only in the catalytic industry but mainly also to its demand in the stainless steel production industry. Hence there is a need to produce more pure and marketable grades of Ni through the use of efficient purification routes such as solvent extraction. The V10-LIX®84-IC system resulted in nickel (Ni) extraction isotherm shifting to lower pH levels. The pH window of opportunity for the extraction of Ni subsequently increased in solution containing magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) even though the system also resulted in slight shifts to less positive pH values for Mg and Ca curves. Results showed a synergistic effect of LIX®84-IC when added to V10 for all elements, Ni, Mg and Ca. The pH50 values for elements Ni, Mg and Ca in the V10-LIX®84-IC system were 2.95, 8.10 and 7.70 respectively. Comparing results obtained when using V10 alone produced ΔpH50for Ni, Mg and Ca being 3.35, 0.15 and 0.70 respectively, which was a confirmation of the synergistic shifts for all the elements. The ΔpH50(Mg-Ni) value was 1.95 with no synergism and 5.15 with synergism and that for ΔpH50(Ca-Ni)was 2.10 with no synergism and 4.75 with synergism. This showed that the Ni-Mg separation factor was relatively larger than the Ni-Ca. Improved loading and stripping kinetics were also observed.

Keywords: Nickel solvent extraction separation, magnesium, calcium, versatic 10 acid and LIX®84-IC


 

 

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Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfillment of B Eng (Met. Eng.) degree

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