Extracting scandium from laterite nickel ore using extraction method with low investment cost

With the increasing demand for solid fuel cells year by year, the market demand for scandium metal is also constantly expanding. The extraction of resistant resources urgently requires a stable and reasonably priced scandium supply chain. The sulfuric acid roasting water leaching method, as a traditional smelting process, has been proven to selectively extract nickel and cobalt from laterite nickel ore.

It is understood that scandium is a rare and expensive strategic metal with high activity, high melting point, light weight, and softness. It is widely used in high-tech fields such as national defense and military industry, and the demand is constantly increasing. It is a typical rare and dispersed lithophile element, and its independent mineral is very rare in nature, but widely distributed in other minerals. The scandium content in laterite nickel ore ranges from 50g/t to 600g/t, and is considered a promising scandium resource in the future.

Laterite nickel ore can be simply divided into two types: humic soil type and limonite type. The former can be effectively treated through pyrometallurgical process, but it cannot recover the high value scandium in it. The brown iron type laterite nickel ore is often treated with high-pressure acid leaching (hpal), and during the nickel cobalt extraction process, scandium is recycled as a byproduct. These methods ignore the economic value of scandium metal itself, with a full process recovery rate of about 45%, and fail to achieve efficient extraction of scandium from laterite nickel ore. Moreover, the use of high-pressure acid leaching (hpal) treatment requires the use of expensive titanium high-pressure reaction vessels, resulting in high investment.

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