Cobalt is an essential element in many applications in today’s modern society. The importance of cobalt are known for rechargeable batteries, electronics, catalysts, alloys and healthcare which has resulted in the metal element being referred to as a technology enabling element. The demand has increased significantly with the development of electric cars.
A feasibility study for Nickel Laterite Hydrometallurgy Project has been finalised in July 2018 with engineering design by ENFI of China. The processing plant will process 4.2 millions tonnes of nickel ore to produce 3.6 millions tonnes of autoclave feed. The nickel/cobalt hydroxide is forecasted to be 103 thousands tonnes, containing 40 thousands tonnes of nickel metal and 4.1 thousands tonnes of cobalt metal produced annually.
The internationally advanced high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) process will be implemented. Concentrated sulfuric acid is added into autoclave under the working conditions of 250~260°C and 4900~5270kPa(a) to produce the valuable metals such as Ni and Co in the raw materials to be dissolved into the solution in the form of sulfate. The main product of this project is the nickel/cobalt hydroxide mixture.