The cobalt-rich crust is an important deep sea metallic ore, which contains many valuable elements such as cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese. BGRIMM performs continuous test with SO2 reduction and H2SO4 leaching. In the continuous test process, we further perfect process flow, optimize process conditions, The percentages of leached Co, Ni, Mn and Cu are 99.3, 98.3,98.7 and 82.4 respectively.


Cobalt-rich crust is a complex symbiotic pollymetalic oxidized ore which contains low-grade valuable metal and lots of free water (35%∼40%, wt)(Xia Zhongrang,1987; Hein James R,1988). By direct hydrometallurgical processing, drying or pre-processing of the ore can be avoided, and thereby the energy consumption can be cut down significantly. In ammonia leaching process, the metals such as cobalt, nickel and copper et al. can be selective leaching while other metals such as iron, manganese, silicon, calcium and aluminum et al. remain in leaching residue. The leachate contains few impurities and can be reused after easy treatment. Therefore, the ammonium leaching plays a very important role in hydrometallurgy. The disadvantage of ammonium leaching is that recovery ratio of cobalt is low (<60%) and it is difficult to recovery of manganese(Jiang Xunxiong,2002). The acid leaching process mainly contains hydrochloric acid leaching process and sulfuric acid leaching process. Because of corrosive, leaching with hydrochloric acid is not used generally. In this study, the SO2-H2SO4 system is selected to continuously leach cobalt-rich crust, which has many characteristics such as low investment, low energy consumption and low smelting cost. At the same time, the valuable metals also can be extracted from the cobalt-rich crust, such as cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese et al.

Experimental material and procedure

Experimental material. The material used in this experiment is a trawl sample which comes from Chinese cobalt-rich crust resource zone.

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