Synergistic effect of organic acid on the dissolution of mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate in sulphuric acid solution
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The synergistic effect of an organic acid on the dissolution of nickel and cobalt from a mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate (MHP) in sulphuric acid solution was studied. The effects of sulphuric acid concentration, the type of organic acid, leaching time, leaching temperature and stirring speed on the dissolution of the metals were experimentally investigated. It was observed that there is no beneficial effect of leaching temperature and stirring speed on the dissolution of the metals from the used MHP product which contains 37.7% Ni, 2.1% Co and 5.6% Mn. It was found that citric acid was more effective than oxalic acid for the dissolution of nickel and manganese, whereas oxalic acid was more effective than citric acid for the dissolution of cobalt. The addition of oxalic acid into the leaching system, however, affected the dissolution of nickel negatively because nickel precipitate as nickel oxalate. Therefore, the use of citric acid as synergist for sulphuric acid leaching of MHP product is more promising. After 60 min of leaching, 90.9% Ni, 84.2% Co and 98.1% Mn were dissolved under the following conditions: 0.75 M sulphuric acid, 2 g citric acid, 1/10 solid-to-liquid ratio, 400 rpm stirring speed and 30 degrees C temperature. The experimental results demonstrate that the addition of citric acid as a synergist for sulphuric acid leaching of a MHP product provides beneficial effect for the dissolution of nickel, cobalt and manganese.