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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Reno, Horace T.
Nickel,   pp. 871-879 ff. PDF (1017.9 KB)


Page 879

 NICKEL 879 
TECHNOLOGY 
 The pattern of nickel research and development in 1972 was little changed
from that of -the last 2 years. Scientists at Bureau of Mines laboratories
researched methods of recovering nickel and copper from the Duluth gabbro
of Minnesota. One element of the overall investigation was a study looking
to pressure leaching of nickel-bearing gabbro in situ. The plan was to fracture
the gabbro with nuclear explosives. 
 In the oxide ore phase of the Bureau's extractive research program, metallurgists
studied segregation and chloridization processes. They reported a simple,
low-cost roasting modification for improving nickel and cobalt ex-traction
from relatively refractory, low-grade, weathered serpentine. The process
was described in a Bureau of Mines Technical Progress Report.3 
 Apparently the pattern of research in the U.S.S.R. has followed that of
-the free world. It was reported that nickel production had been increased
37% in the 5-year plan period between 1966 and 1970. The increase was due
to introduction of new technology, automation, mechanization, improvemen-ts
in processes, and modernization of mining and metallurgical equipment. Oxygen-enriched
airblast into a shaft smelting furnace, autoclave leaching to increase production
of nickel hydroxide, and replacement of multiple hearth roasters by closed-system
fluo-solids furnaces were among the technical improvements.4 
 The Division of Mineralogy of -the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) began a comprehensive investigation
on the nature of deposition and mode of origin of the nickel sulfide ores
of Australia. The program was designed to develop a genetic model that is
consisten-t and adequately understood. The initial work was an interpretive
study of nickel-iron sulfide ore in the Lunnon shoot at Kambalda, Western
Australia.5 A magmatic model for the formation of the shoot was developed
as a result of study of one intersection of the ore body. The data suggested
that at temperatures above 1,140° C, the ore and its host ultramafic
rock consisted of a crystal mush containing olivine and chromite crystals,
sulfide droplets, and silicate magma. 
 CSIRO researchers also began collecting representative samples of nickelifeTous
oxide ores from various Australian deposits to determine their response to
known hydrometallurgical procedures.6 
 Mining engineers of INCO, reported on more than 10 years of progress in
raise boring at the Sudbury district nickel mines.' Improved safety in ground
control, lower resistance to air flow, and reduced cost were cited as the
advantages in raise boring. 
 The Republic Steel Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio, reported a new hydrometallurgical
process for recovering nickel.8 Metallurgists of the company worked with
the Colorado School of Mines Research Institute on a feasibility study and
pilot plant operation to test a number of lateritic ores. They reported that
using hydrometallurgical techniques at elevated temperatures with additives
of sulfur, oxygen, and metallic iron, the new process achieved 92% nickel
recovery. 
 Informal reports from industrial research laboratories indicated a high
level of activity in the search for *new nickel applications, but as in 1971,
the intensified research was not reflected in the published literature. Armco
Steel Corp. described a new 5% nickel alloy to compete with ferntic and austentic
nickel stainless steel.9 The 5% nickel steel was said to increase the versatility
of the nickel steels in handling and storage of liquified gases with special
emphasis on liquid natural gas (LNG). Most LNG facilities have been built
of alloy steels containing 9% nickel. 
 Brook,, P. T., and G. M. Potter. Improving Nickel Extraction from Oxide
Nickel Ores. BuMines TPR 57, September 1972, 4 pp. 
 Murashov, V. D. Improvements in Nickel Technology. Intermet Bull., v. 1,
No. 4, April 1972, p. 41. 
 Ewers, W. E., and D. R. Hudson. An Interpretive Study of a Nickel-Iron Sulfide
Ore Intersection, Lunnon Shoot, Kambalda, Western Australia. Econ. Geol.,
v. 67, No. 8, December 1972, pp. 
1075—1092. 
 6 CSIRO Minerals Research Laboratories Annual Report, 1971—72, p.
20. 
 Parris, T. D., and W. J. Taylor. Raise Boring at the International Nickel
Company of Canada, Limited, Ontario Division. Can. Mm. and Met. Bull., v.
65, No. 723, July 1972, pp. 25—30. 
 Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Bulletin. Hydrometallurgical Recovery
of Nickel. V. 66, No. 729, January 1973, p. 140. 
 Wood, J. Armco Details Cost Advantage, Toughness of Nickell Alloy. Am. Metal
Market, v. 79, No. 180, Oct. 2, 1972, p. 27. 


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