Recently, The Philippine Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry spoke out respectively that the Philippines will study the establishment of a tariff or ban policy on the export of nickel ore and promote investment in the nickel ore processing industry.
Nickel is not only used as the production of stainless steel, but also one of the raw materials for ternary batteries in terms of new energy. This statement not only brings opportunities but also challenges to mining companies, which in turn will accelerate the development of nickel resources.
At present, there are more than 50 kinds of nickel ore resources, but the nickel resources that can be developed are mainly nickel sulfide and nickel oxide. The following editor will sort out the characteristics of these two nickel minerals and the suitable beneficiation process for you.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through the guide:
Copper is generally contained in nickel sulfide ore (also known as copper nickel sulfide ore) and mostly exists in the form of brass. Nickel mostly exists in the form of free nickel sulfide such as pentlandite, pentallite, and purple sulfur nickel ore. In addition, part of nickel exists in pyrrhotite as isomorphic.
According to the characteristics of this type of nickel ore, the available beneficiation method is mainly flotation, while gravity separation is used as an auxiliary process.
Commonly used nickel sulfide ore flotation methods include preferential flotation, mixed flotation, and mixed-priority flotation.
Preferential flotation: For copper-nickel sulfide ore, when the content of copper is higher than that of nickel, it is better to use preferential flotation. Generally, copper is first floated to suppress nickel, and then nickel minerals are separated in the flotation tailings to obtain better copper concentrate and nickel concentrate.
Mixed flotation: This method is mainly suitable for processing sulfide minerals with low copper content and high nickel content. Generally, copper and nickel are mixed and selected, and then copper concentrate and nickel concentrate are obtained by flotation from the mixed ore. Sometimes smelting methods are used to make the mixed concentrate into high nickel matte, and then grind it, remove the drug, add inhibitor (inhibit nickel) and collector (collect copper) to flotation to obtain copper concentrate and nickel concentrate .
Mixed-priority flotation: This method is mainly for separating ores with large differences in the floatability of nickel minerals. Generally, copper-nickel mixed minerals are first obtained by mixed flotation, and then copper concentrate and nickel concentrate are preferentially flotationed from the mixed minerals. If there is a large difference in floatability between minerals, after obtaining the mixed concentrate, the tailings will be enriched again, and then the nickel minerals with poor floatability will be further recovered. In addition, it should be noted that when the mixed-priority flotation process is dealing with nickel sulfide minerals, it is better to allow copper to enter the nickel ore than to prevent nickel from entering the copper ore. Otherwise, during the smelting process of copper concentrate, the loss of nickel is relatively high.
The main purpose of nickel ore beneficiation by gravity separation method is to recover the useful components as much as possible, and reselect dense and submerged copper and nickel ore. According to different weight, and then separate copper and nickel concentrate are selected for light and heavy minerals.
Nickel oxide minerals are mainly laterite nickel ore, followed by nickel silicate. This type of nickel ore belongs to the weathering mineral, and nickel mainly exists in the form of nickel brown iron. Both had lower nickel content and higher iron content. In the dressing method mainly smelting enrichment, fire smelting and wet smelting two.
There are two methods of fire smelting: original smelting and sulfur smelting. Among them, the original melting process is mainly used to obtain nickel ore, while sulfide melting mainly obtain high ice nickel minerals.
There are two methods of pressurized ammonia leaching and pressurized acid leaching. Among them, pressurized acid immersion is suitable for treating nickel oxide ore containing cobalt, which is conducive to cobalt recovery, while pressurized ammonia immersion is suitable for treating nickel oxide containing low or no cobalt.
The above is the nickel sulfide ore and nickel oxide ore characteristics and common dressing process introduction. In the actual concentrator, the beneficiation process scheme should be decided according to the nature of the nickel ore, and should not be selected blindly. Therefore, Xinhai suggested that the mineral processing test should be carried out first, and the suitable nickel mineral processing process scheme should be designed according to the test analysis results.
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