Authors: Sofra, F


Cite As:
Sofra, F 2005, 'Understanding Feed Rheology in Nickel Laterite Processing', in R Jewell & S Barrera (eds), Paste 2005: Proceedings of the International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 29-44,

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The main application of paste technology is tailings disposal. However, paste technology is also being implemented to modify feed characteristics in nickel pro- cessing. The mineralogical composition and physical constitution of nickel later- ite ores varies between deposits and also within a given deposit and during ‘life of mine’. Understanding how these variations impact on the ‘processability’ of ores is an essential step in identifying and mitigating project risk, and the ongoing sustainable operation of the processing plant. Refining nickel laterites using pres- sure acid leach technologies requires that the solids concentration of the feed to the autoclave is maximized whilst favourable rheological characteristics are main- tained to ensure adequate heat transfer and efficient reaction rates. Maximizing the concentration of the feed also minimises the capital cost of autoclaves and associated unit operations. For nickel laterites, the solids concentration required to achieve the design rheology may vary dramatically depending on the ore min- eralogy and the processing conditions. This paper outlines testwork that has been conducted to characterise the rheological properties of nickel laterite feeds in order to define appropriate operating conditions and highlight unique difficulties which may be encountered when processing nickel laterite ores. 30 Paste 2005, Santiago, Chile Understanding Feed Rheology in Nickel... Sofra, F.

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