Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals

Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals, 1st Edition

Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals, 1st Edition,Frank Crundwell,Michael Moats,Venkoba Ramachandran,Timothy Robinson,W. G. Davenport,ISBN9780080968100

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Describes and explores the modern industrial methods, processes and technologies through which the related nickel, cobalt and platinum group ores and recyclables are transformed into high purity metals

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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


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.


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.

Frank Crundwell

I have been on the 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

Dr. Frank K. Crundwell Director CM Solutions Parklands, South Africa

Michael Moats

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Utah, UT, USA

View additional works by Michael Moats

Venkoba Ramachandran

Affiliations and Expertise

Ram consultants, AZ, USA

Timothy 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

View additional works by W. G. Davenport

Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals, 1st Edition



Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 32. Overview of the Extraction of Platinum-Group Metals

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

Chapter 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


Quotes and reviews

"The strength of the book lies in the number of Tables comparing production details in different smelters and refineries around the world and the list of references at the end of each chapter. The book also includes many operating details for furnaces and other equipment as well as analyses of materials handled. This information must be considered as authoritative since the authors mention that they visited many plants and collected data on site... The book is a welcome addition to the metallurgical library and any one involved in the nickel industry must be aware of this book."--MEIBlog
"A team of specialists from various companies and universities trace the extraction and processing of the three metals from ore in the ground to high-purity metals and chemicals. Nickel, cobalt, and platinum-group metals often occur together, are extracted together, and have similar properties. The topics discussed include smelting laterite concentrates to sulfide matte, extracting nickel and cobalt from sulfide ores, the slow cooling and solidification of converter matte, extracting cobalt from nickel laterite and sulfide ores, and smelting and converting sulfide concentrates containing platinum-group metals."--Reference and Research News, October 2012

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