Solid-Liquid Separations in Processing Domestic Laterites; Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations -1984
Description:The Bureau of Mines has devised and demonstrated a process for recovering Ni and Co from low-grade domestic laterites. The process consists of four major steps: (1) reduction roast, (2) ammoniacal leach, (3) solvent extraction, and (4) electrowinning. Several solid-liquid separation steps are required that affect the economics of the overall pro-cess. In this study, two techniques for solid-liquid separation, centrifugation and thickening, were investigated. This report presents the results of (1) laboratory and pilot plant studies to determine parameters for sizing centrifuges and thickeners and (2) an economic study of the two techniques, based on the requirements of a commercial-size (5,OOO-tpd) laterite processing plant. Sizing and other equipment-related recommendations, based on data from the Bureau's studies, were obtained from commercial manufacturers. The costs of thickening and centrifugation, including all the unit operations affected, were determined by the Bureau's process evaluation group. The total operating costs ~or separation using the two techniques (including depreciation on the capital cost of equipment) were found to be quite close: $17.26 per ton of laterite for centrifugation and $18.15 per ton of laterite for thickening. For centrifugal separation, the greatest cost was found to be the initial capital cost for the separation equipment; using thickeners, the greatest cost was for re-agent recovery.
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