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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Matthews, Norman A.
Nickel,   pp. 629-641 ff. PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 641

NICKEL 
ess technology. Feasibility studies have not been completed. 
 U.S.S.R.—Production capacity of the Norilsk nickel complex in
Siberia
reportedly will be expanded by 80% during the 10th 5year plan, which started
in 1977. This expansion will raise total Soviet capacity 44%, from 231,000
to 310,000 tons of nickel annually. New mine equipment is being installed,
and the extraction and refining processes are being improved. 
 Yugoslavia.—The new ferronickel facility 
641 
at Kavadarci, with rated annual capacity of 17,600 tons of nickel content,
was scheduled to start operations late in 1979. Current indications suggest
initial operations in 1982. A second mining and ferronickel production facility,
in the Kosovo Republic bordering on Albania, was also under construction,
with operations scheduled in 1982. Rekmk Kosovo is to mine 1.1 million tons
of ore annually and produce 13,200 tons of nickel in ferronickel. Capital
cost was estimated at $150 million. 
TECHNOLOGY 
 Bureau of Mines scientists continued research on extraction methods for
recovering nickel, copper, and platinum metals from matte produced from flotation
concentrates from low-grade Duluth gabbro sulfide deposits. The matte treatment
involves atmospheric and pressure leaching with sulfuric acid, separation
of copper from nickel and cobalt by solvent extraction, and purification
by electrowinning. Precious metals concentrate in the leach residue. The
process developed by the Bureau for treatment of western laterite ores was
carried to the pilot plant stage in October 1978 with a costsharing contract
for $2.3 million with UOP, Inc., to modify a pilot plant at Tucson, Ariz.,
and carry out tests of the process over a 15month period. Research continued
on methods for extracting chromium from the leach residue after the nickel
and cobalt have been recovered by leaching. 
 The Bureau continued research on methods of increasing recovery of nickel
from wastes. The finalized procedure developed at the Rolla Research Center
for recovering nickel, chromium, and iron from stainless steel plant particulates
was demonstrated in several commercial-size electric-furnace heats. Recoveries
of over 90% of the valuable elements as alloys were achieved by smelting
pelletized mixtures of flue dusts, mill scale, grinding swarf, and reductant
in electric furnaces. The Bureau provided technical assistance and monitored
contracts with Inco Inc. and A.D. Little, Inc., with funds provided by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency of the General Services Administration.
The purpose of the project was to develop methods for extracting nickel,
cobalt, and chromium from obsolete and contaminated superalloy and 
other high-nickel alloy scrap. Bureau researchers continued experimental
work on practical methods of recovering nickel and cadmium in pure form from
scrap nickelcadmium batteries. 
 Development activities related to the mining of deep seabed nodules were
slowed in 1978 because of the depressed nickel market and the discouraging
outlook for an international agreement on rules for ocean mining. Ocean Mining
Associates completed tests of an airlift system at depths of up to 15,000
feet; Ocean Minerals Co. contracted for lease of the ship "Glomar Explorer"
and planned deepwater tests in early 1979. Ocean Management, Inc., completed
two successful deepwater tests of a hydraulic lift system but subsequently
announced deferment of activities. A Japanese consortium launched a ship
specially designed for deepsea nodule exploration, with initial operation
expected southeast of Hawaii in July 1980. A survey paper on nodule resources
in the northeastern equatorial Pacific Ocean was published.~ 
 1Physical scientist, Section of Ferrous Metals. 
 2Minnesota State Planning Agency. The Minnesota Regional Copper-Nickel Study,
1976-1979, August 1979. 
 ' Ramp, L. Investigations of Nickel in Oregon. Oregon Dept. of Geology and
Mineral Industries, Misc. Paper 20, 1978, 68 pp. 
 4Wenzl, K. H. B. The hnco Metals Company, Ontario Division, Energy Management
Program. Can. Mi J., March 1978, pp. 68-69. 
 5Doyle, D. M. Energy Conservation at Falconbridge Nickel. Can. Miii. J.,
March 1978, pp. 69-70. 
 6Kay, H., E., and J. Michal. The AMAX Acid Leach Process for Oxide Nickel
Ores. AIME Annual Meeting, Denver, Cob., Feb. 27, 1978. 
 7Messa, C. J., and G. R. Wicker. Economic Analysis of Nickel and Cobalt
Recovery From Laterite Deposits Using the AMAX Acid Leach Process. AIME Annual
Meeting, Denver, Cob., Feb. 27, 1978. 
 8Frazer, J. Z. Resources in Seafloor Manganese Nodules. Scripps Institution
of Oceanography, Univ. of Calif., at San Diego, 1978. 


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