The metallurgical principles and technology process details on the smelting-rusting-solvent extraction method to recover valuable metals from ocean polymetallic nodules have been given in this paper. The small scale and large scale tests were carried out to extract Ni Co Cu Mn & Fe from the nodules. The totals metals recoveries in whole process of small scale test from nodule ore to the products(electrolytic copper, electrolytic nickel, Mn-rich slag and manganese carbonate, cobalt oxide and iron red) are(%) Cu 94.21, Co 95.23, Ni 96.49, Mn 97.68 and Fe 96.16. The recoveries of metals in the large scale test from. nodule ore to related products (Mn-Si alloy, rusting solution and ferric oxide) are(%) Cu 94.52, Co 96.57, Ni 96.56, Mn 81.90 and Fe 99.57. The results obtained show that the advantages of the method are short flowsheet, low energy consumption, high recoveries of valuable metals high comprehensive utilization of mineral resources and less pollution.


Ocean polymetallic nodules is an enormous metalliferous mineral resource. by various countries(Ma Rongjiun, 1980). According to Benjamin, WH et al (1982), among the first generation typical industrial methods for processing ocean polymetallic nodules which had passed pilot tests, there are five promising processes in the 80 " .s. They are. (1) gas reduction and ammoniacal leaching process, which is modification of the Caron process for treating nickel latentes(WIlder, TC et aI, 1972). (2) cuprion ammoniacal leaching process developed by Kennecott Copper Corp.(Agarwal, JC et al, 1979). (3) high temperature and pressure sulfuric acid leaching process, developed by several lab in Europe (Haenig, G et al, 1974). (4) reduction and hydrochloric acid leaching process, also called Deep-sea Ventures Process (Cardwell, PH et aI, 1975). (5) Smelting-sulphdization converting-leaching process, first developed by International Nickel Cooperation (INCO) (Sridhar, RJ et al, 1976).

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