Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2009, Vol. 82, No. 8, pp. 1327−1332.
Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2009.
Original Russian Text
E.S. Kshumaneva, A.G. Kasikov, Yu.N. Neradovskii, A.T. Belyaevskii, 2009, published in Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, 2009, Vol. 82,
No. 8, pp. 1233−1238.
INORGANIC SYNTHESIS AND INDUSTRIAL
Pentlandite Leaching in the FeCl
E. S. Kshumaneva
, A. G. Kasikov
, Yu. N. Neradovskii
, and A. T. Belyaevskii
Tananaev Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Rare Elements and Mineral Raw Materials, Kola Scientiﬁ c Center,
Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, Murmanck oblast, Russia
Geological Institute, Kola Scientiﬁ c Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, Murmanck oblast, Russia
Received November 6, 2008
Abstract—Pentlandite leaching in binary and ternary systems comprised of FeCl
, and HCl was studied.
The degree of decomposition and recovery of pentlandite, as well as the kinetic characteristics of the process
were examined in relation to the composition of solution.
is the main nickel-
containing mineral which, in association with chalcopyrite
and pyrrhotite, constitutes copper-nickel sulﬁ de ores.
Nickel is traditionally recovered from sulfide raw
materials by ﬂ otation into a collective copper-nickel
concentrate to be processed by pyrometallurgic methods
into converter matte. At Russian enterprises, the latter is
separated into nickel and copper concentrates to be once
again subjected to pyrometallurgic reﬁ nement into crude
nickel and copper anodes with formation of sulfuric acid
. The existing technology is power-intensive, bulky,
and environmentally hazardous; certain problems are
generated by sales and transportation of sulfuric acid.
Also, rich deposits are exhausted around the world;
the available raw materials are characterized by increased
complexity, and the minerals occur in the form unsuitable
for enrichment and efﬁ cient recovery into high-quality
concentrates by conventional methods. All this makes
the latter impractical in the actual economic situation and
necessitates the search for new methods of processing.
These activities are promoted by rising prices and steady
increase in demand for nonferrous metals [2, 3].
Up to the present time, pentlandite-containing
materials have been processed commercially by two
hydrometallurgical procedures: the ammonia procedure
developed by Sherritt Gordon and the autoclave sulfuric
acid procedure for processing of nickel-pyrrhotite
concentrates, employed at Noril’sk Nickel, Polar Branch,
Mining and Metallurgical Combine. In recent years,
new processes were developed and passed pilot tests:
(US), and Inco’s
Voisey Bay (Canada). In Activox
autoclave processes, sulfur from sulﬁ des is oxidized with
oxygen to sulfates. In the sulfate-chloride two-phase
process implemented at Voisey Bay most of sulfur is
transferred to elemental form. The ﬁ rst stage of the process
is run at atmospheric pressure with gaseous chlorine as
oxidant, and the second stage of decomposition, under
pressure in the presence of oxygen [1, 3, 4].
Copper(II) and iron(III) chloride solutions are
suitable as oxidants for decomposition of the minerals at
atmospheric pressure with virtually exhaustive removal
of sulfur in the elemental form. Of special signiﬁ cance is
the fact that platinum group metals, which are often part
of copper-nickel ores, are concentrated in the leaching
residues. For details on other beneﬁ ts of hydrochloride
processing of sulﬁ de materials, see [5, 6].
The existing hydrochloride procedures are tailored
primarily for nickel concentrates with heazlewoodite
as the main nickel-containing phase, since it
exhibits acceptable dissolution rates in chloride media
at low potentials [1, 7].
Published data are indicative of researchers’ attempts
to use various oxidants and procedures for preliminary
processing of the initial material with the aim to develop
efﬁ cient methods for dissolution of Pnt. For example,
Warner et al.  reported that Pnt leaching with iron(III)