Reagent-free method for extraction of nickel and cobalt from production and washing solutions of ammonia-carbonate oxidative leach

The most toxic elements that accumulate in the environment and lead to serious damage to living organisms are heavy metals. Anthropogenic sources of heavy metals in the environment are air emissions and wastewater discharges from various industries, which cause serious and long-term damage to the geoecological state of the territories. In particular, during the processing of ores, toxic heavy metals are transferred to the environment, which are dangerous sources of poisoning for people, animals and plants. The group of heavy metals is extensive and includes nickel and cobalt. The latter are found in concentrations that exceed the background values by several orders of magnitude in numerous territories, but especially their high concentrations are formed at enterprises for the extraction and processing of nickel ores. Soluble forms of cobalt and nickel act as strong toxicants on soil, plants and humans. During the processing of nickel-cobalt oxide ores by selective reduction roasting, followed by oxidative ammonia-carbonate leaching, nickel-cobalt solutions of two types are formed — production and washing. In practice, for the extraction of cobalt and nickel from them, treatment is carried out by the reagent method using sulfides or sulfites of sodium or ammonium, less often with hydrogen sulfide acid. However, the method used, due to the high consumption of reagents for the deposition of metals, and the insufficient degree of their extraction, is accompanied by the formation of highly mineralized sulfide or sulfite-containing wastewater with a high residual content of heavy metals. The disadvantages of this method dictate the need to find other more promising and more environmentally friendly ways to extract metals. The aim of the study was to reduce environmental damage to the environment through the use of a reagent-free method for extracting cobalt and nickel from the production and washing solutions. To achieve this goal, the electrolysis method with a volumetric porous cathode made of carbon-graphite material was chosen. This paper presents studies on the effect of the treatment modes of the production and washing solutions on the recovery of nickel and cobalt. The main regularities of the influence of the current density and the duration of electrolysis on the degree of extraction of metals and their ratio in the cathode deposit have been studied, the current efficiencies have been calculated and the electricity consumption has been estimated. It is shown that the method makes it possible to achieve the degree of extraction of cobalt up to 97.4% from the production and up to 88.6% from the washing solutions, which testifies to the efficiency and prospects of the reagent-free method with volume-porous cathodes from CFM.

Keywords: cobalt and nickel, wash and production solutions, electrolysis, reagentless method, volumetric porous cathode, cathode precipitate, ammonia-carbonate oxidative leaching.
For citation:

Kharlamova T.A., Khabarova E.I., Atamanova Yu.Yu. Reagent-free method for extraction of nickel and cobalt from production and washing solutions of ammonia-carbonate oxidative leach. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2021;(2—1):228-240. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/02361493-2021-21-0-228-240.

Issue number: 2
Year: 2021
Page number: 228-240
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 66.2; 544.6; 546.76
DOI: 10.25018/0236-1493-2021-21-0-228-240
Article receipt date: 12.01.2021
Date of review receipt: 27.01.2021
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 01.02.2021
About authors:

Kharlamova T.A., Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Professor, Department of Theoretical and Applied Chemistry, e-mail:, MGOU, Mytischi, Russia;
Khabarova E.I., Cand. Sci. (Chem.), Assistant Professor, Lomonosov Institute of Fine Chemical Technologies, MIREA — Russian Technological University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:;
Atamanova Yu.Yu., post-graduate student, Department of Theoretical and Applied Chemistry, е-mail:, Moscow State University, Mytishchi, Russia.


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