Biocatalytic and chemical leaching of a low-grade nickel laterite ore

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ÇİFTÇİ H., ATİK S., Gurbuz F.

METALLURGICAL RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY, vol.115, no.3, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 115 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1051/metal/2018006
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus


Nickel and cobalt recovery from a low-grade nickel laterite ore, supplied from Caldag deposit (Manisa, Turkey) were investigated by bio and chemical leaching processes. The fungus, Aspergillus niger was used for biocatalytic leaching experiments. The effects of parameters (solid ratio and sucrose concentration) on the biocatalytic leaching of the ore were initially tested in flasks to obtain the optimum conditions for the A. niger. Then chemical leaching was applied as a comparison to bioleaching, using organic acids (citric, oxalic, acetic and gluconic acids) as well as a mixture of acids. According the results, the maximum dissolution yield of nickel, cobalt and iron were detected respectively as 95.3%, 74.3% and 50.0% by biocatalytic processes which containing 25% (w/v) sucrose and 1% (w/v) solids. The increase in the solid ratio adversely influenced the biocatalytic activity of A. niger. Finally, further tests in reactors (v=1 and 10 L) were performed using the optimum conditions from the flask tests. The difference in metals recovery between biocatalytic and chemical leaching was significantly important. Bioleaching produced higher Ni and Co extractions (34.3-75.6%) than chemical process.