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Processing of manganese nodule leach liquor for the separation of cobalt and nickel using PC 88A

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2009, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 133-140

Panigrahi, S.; Parhi, P.K.; Nathsarma, K.C.; Sarangi, K.


The SO2-ammoniacal ammonium sulfate leach liquor generated by leaching of manganese nodules, after removal of minor quantities of iron and manganese, contained copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and (NH4)2SO4. After extraction of copper from the leach liquor with LIX 84I, stripping of ammonia from the Cu-barren raffinate was carried out followed by precipitation of metal ions from the ammonia-stripped solution as sulfides. Leaching of the sulfide precipitate was carried out with H2SO4 to obtain a leach liquor containing 0.58 kg/m3 Cu, 2.67 kg/m3 Zn, 2.00 kg/m3 Co, 24.68 kg/m3 Ni and 10.0 kg/m3 (NH4)2SO4. After extraction of copper and zinc from the sulfate leach liquor with LIX 84I and D2EHPA, respectively, the solution was left with Co and Ni. Extraction of cobalt from the Cu- and Zn-free solution was carried out with 0.1 M PC88A and stripping of the cobalt-loaded organic was carried out with the cobalt-spent electrolyte (pH 1.4). Extraction of nickel from the cobalt-free solution was carried out with 90% neutral 1M NaPC88A followed by stripping of the nickel-loaded organic with 120 kg/m3 H2SO4 solution. Extraction of metal ions increased with increasing equilibrium pH and extractant concentration. The maximum separation factors, with respect to the pH and extractant concentration variation studies, were 3796.7 and 15350.0, respectively. The extracted species for the metal ions were CoA2·3HA and NiA2·5HA.