TRANSACTIONS OF NONFERROUS METALS SOCIETY OF CHINA, vol.28, no.8, pp.1652-1659, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
The dissolution of nickel and cobalt from Caldag lateritic nickel ore using the combination of sulphuric and ascorbic acids was investigated. The use of other organic acids, namely citric, maleic and stearic acids, as synergistic reagents was studied for comparison. The results revealed that the use of ascorbic and citric acids markedly improved the dissolution of cobalt compared to the other two organic acids that only showed slight synergistic effect on the leaching rate. In terms of nickel dissolution, ascorbic acid is the most effective synergist, followed by citric, maleic and stearic acids in descending order. Under the most optimized conditions found in this study, i.e., using 1 mol/L of sulphuric acid with the presence of 4 g/L of ascorbic acid at 80 degrees C and solid-to-liquid ratio of 1/10, more than 99% and 98% leaching rates of cobalt and nickel, respectively, can be achieved within 4 h of leaching. In addition, the leaching performance is relatively insensitive to the change of ascorbic acid concentration from 2 to 4 g/L which is highly desirable from operational perspective.