Successful leach testing of high-grade nickel concentrates from Vancouver-based explorer FPX Nickel’s Decar nickel district, near Fort St James, British Columbia, has confirmed nickel recoveries up to 99.5% in producing a high-concentration nickel/cobalt chemical solution suitable for the electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain.
The results of this test programme position Decar as a potentially significant supplier of nickel for the stainless steel and the EV battery markets, the company indicated in a statement on Tuesday, sending its stock up 25% to C$0.17 apiece.
FPX said the testing results established Decar awaruite nickel concentrate as a "good feedstock with potential advantages over sulphide and laterite feedstocks" in the ultimate production of nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate for the EV battery market
Moreover, this hd confirmed the amenability of Decar nickel concentrate to conventional pressure leaching at moderate pressure and temperature, achieving nickel recoveries of 98.8% to 99.5% in the production of high-purity chemical solution containing 69.4 to 70.1 g/L nickel.
FPX president and CEO Martin Turenne said that in comparison with nickel sulphide concentrates, the direct dissolution of Decar concentrate could eliminate the need for smelting prior to downstream processing to produce nickel sulphate.
Rapid nickel extraction (over 98% extraction in under 60 minutes) was achieved under mild pressure leaching conditions with considerably lower sizing, power consumption, pressure and temperature requirements than typical high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) operations.
Turenne indicated that the high-grade Decar concentrate feedstock conceptually entailed a smaller operational footprint and considerately lower pressure and temperature requirements than HPAL operations used in laterite operations.
“This testing confirms the potential for the production of nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate from awaruite ore in a simple three-stage process encompassing ore beneficiation, pressure leaching, and solvent extraction. This three-stage processing route has the potential to be more efficient than the typical five-stage processes required to convert sulphide and laterite ores into nickel sulphate…”