Deep roasting of nickel concentrate

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 87, No. 981, 1994

C. Diaz, B.R. Conard, Ineo Limited, J. Roy Gordon Research Laboratory, Mississauga, Ontario S.W. Marcuson and K.I. Burgess, Inco Limited, Ontario Division, Sudbury, Ontario

Deep roasting in fluid bed roasters is the first unit operation in Inco's "roast-reduction smelting" process for the treatment of nickel sulphide concentrates. The roaster product, a low sulphur calcine, is reduction smelted with coke in an electric furnace to yield a sulphur-deficient matte which is then converted to low (1%) iron matte in Peirce-Smith converters. Due to the deep roasting, a minimal amount of sulphur dioxide is evolved in the smelting and converting stages. Sulphur is eliminated from the concentrate almost exi:lusively in the roasters in a single, continuous, strong, gas stream suitable for treatment in an acid plant. This paper discusses the commercial scale testing of deep fluid bed roasting of nickel concentrate at Inco's Thompson Smelter as part of two commercial scale campaigns on roast reduction smelting conducted in 1981-1982. Slurry feeding, practised during the second campaign, permitted excellent control ofthe air/concentrate ratio in the roaster and, in turn, good control of sulphur elimination (about 80% of input). Smooth autogenous operation with high oxygen efficiencies (about 95%) was promoted by operating at bed temperatures of 830°C to 850°C with calcine recyde. High throughputs and the desired metallurgy were achieved. The extensive testwork conducted during the two experimental RRS campaigns demonstrated thot deep fluid bed roasting of nickel concentrate at high oxygen efficiency is a technically viable operation.
Keywords: Metallurgy, Nickel concentrate, Roasters, Fluid bed roasters.