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Kinetics of nickel extraction from Indonesian saprolitic ore by citric acid leaching under atmospheric pressure

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 176-185

Astuti, W.; Hirajima, T.; Sasaki, K.; Okibe, N.


The kinetics of leaching of a saprolitic ore from Indonesia by citric acid solution under atmospheric pressure was investigated. An examination of the effects of leaching temperature, citric acid concentration, pulp density and ore particle size on the dissolution rate of nickel found that they all had significant influence on the rate. The highest nickel recovery (95.6 percent) was achieved under the leaching conditions of ore particle size of 212-355 microns, citric acid concentration of 1 M, leaching time of 15 days, pulp density of 20 weight/volume percent, leaching temperature of 40°C and shaker speed of 200 rpm. The shrinking core model was found to be appropriate for describing the leaching kinetics of this ore in citric acid solutions at atmospheric pressure. The experimental data were well interpreted by this model with rate of reaction controlled by diffusion through the solid product layer. Using the Arrhenius expression, the apparent activation energy for nickel dissolution was evaluated as 12.38 kJ/mol. Finally, on the basis of the shrinking core model, a proposed empirical kinetic model for the leaching of nickel from this Indonesian saprolitic ore was expressed as a mathematical model, which was verified as consistent with the observed experimental results.