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Project Overview

Project Number
M0533e, M0533f
Total Grant Value
MRIWA Contribution
Project Theme
Processing Technology
Project Period
2020 - 2024

Project completed in two stages by Future Battery Industries CRC which receives allocation of MRIWA funds.

The Challenge

Recovery of metal lost in conventional processing and accessing additional ores not currently economically treatable with traditional processes. This includes:

  • Recovery of nickel and cobalt from float tails, low grade ores, slags.
  • Developing methods for treating flotation concentrates to produce a more valuable nickel sulphate product for the battery industry.

The Solution

Demonstrating economical extraction from resources previously classified as waste or marginal for the production of battery precursor chemicals using a novel alkaline leach system to increase recovery of nickel and cobalt.

It has been estimated there is in excess of 240Mt of tailings in Western Australia at 0.5% Ni and initial work has shown 60% of this can be recovered through leaching. Ideally this technology is best suited for lower grade, highly disseminated nickel-cobalt sulfide ores.

Proposed Benefit to WA

Economical alternative leach technologies for extraction of nickel and cobalt from waste streams has the potential to unlock upwards of $20 billion dollars’ worth of nickel and cobalt to the battery industry.

To do so would place Australia as an exporter of value-added products rather than raw materials.

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Page was last reviewed 3 September 2021

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