The Recovery of Cobalt by the Soluble Cobaltic Ammine Process
Sherritt Gordon Mines Limited utilizes pressure hydrometallurgical techniques to recover nickel, copper and cobalt from sulphidic concentrates, mattes and various other metal-bearing materials. A brief description of the nickel refinery operation is given. In the nickel refinery process, an ammonia pressure leach is employed to treat the feed materials to dissolve the non-ferrous metals as their respective ammine complexes. The resulting leach solution goes through a series of steps which removes copper as copper sulphide and further purifies the solution prior to nickel precipitation by hydrogen reduction. The reduction end solution, containing the cobalt which was originally present in the leach solution as well as residual nickel, is treated with hydrogen sulphide. The resulting nickel-cobalt sulphide precipitate feeds the soluble cobaltic ammine process, which separates the nickel and cobalt and recovers the cobalt as a pure powder.