Fibrous minerals in ultramafic nickel sulphide ores

CIM Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012
M. Xu, Z. Dai, J. Dong, F. Ford, and A. W. Lee
Abstract As high-grade nickel sulphide ores are being depleted and processing laterite ores continues to pose challenges, the future of nickel extraction lies in low-grade ultramafic ores. Canada has large resources of low-grade ultramafic nickel sulphide ores in the Thompson Nickel Belt. Most of the deposits are high tonnage and open pittable, but have high MgO content. The main challenge in processing lowgrade ultramafic ores is the presence of serpentine. Chrysotile, one of the three polymorphs of serpentine, is the most common form of asbestos. In addition, the high slurry viscosity associated with ultramafic ores makes grinding and flotation possible only at a very low solids percentage.
Keywords: Fibre, MgO silicates, Ultramafic, Low-grade nickel sulphide
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