Advances in Chemical Engineering, Vol. 9 by Thomas B. Drew (ed.), Giles R. Cokelet (ed.), John W. Hoopes

By Thomas B. Drew (ed.), Giles R. Cokelet (ed.), John W. Hoopes (ed.), Theodore Vermeulen (ed.)

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The extraction of nickel from Cuban lateritic ores on a commercial scale has been described by Baragwanath and Chatelain (B4). The Nicaro nickel project was operated for almost two years during the Second World War and produced 2,600,000 lb/month of nickel oxide. 5%, ground to 90% -100 mesh, roasted in a reducing 22 RENATO G. BAUTISTA atmosphere. and leached with liquid ammonia. The leach solution was stmeamdistilled t o recover ammonia and precipitate the nickel as basic nickcl carhonat,e. The ammonia was regenerated and the nickel carbonate calcined to produce the nickel oxide.

There is also renewed interest in studying the effect of ammonia in cyanide solution on the leaching of copper-bearing ores ((224, 54, L7, LlG, S34). e. Aqueous Ammonia Solution. Some of the common metals such as HYDROMETALLURGY 21 copper, zinc, cobalt, and nickel are known to react with aqueous ammonia to form metal amine complex ions. The stability, solubility, decomposition reactions, and other chemical properties of these metal amine complexes are well discussed by Bjerrum (B20). 80% copper with ammonia-ammonium carbonate solution.

Other investigators (14, T3) contend that the bacteria biologically oxidize the ferrous to the ferric state as sulfate, which in turn attacks the metal sulfides ores, resulting in both the dissolution of the metal and the oxidation of the sulfide. In the process the ferric iron reduces back to the ferrous state. An increase in the pH causes the basic ferric sulfate to precipitate (self-buffering action) with corresponding release of sulfuric acid. This has the cumulative effect of increasing the acidity of the mine water.

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