Chairman Julian Malnic Speaks with Brian Carlton about Nickel Laterite Processing
Executive Chairman, Julian Malnic a professional geologist whose career spans a wide range of industry activity including exploration, mine assessment, corporate management and development and industry media.
Julian is Chairman of the Sydney Mining Club, which he founded in 1997. The Sydney Mining Club, under his leadership has grown to be Sydney's leading forum for mining executives, professionals and suppliers.
In 1997, Julian founded Nautilus Minerals (now Nautilus Minerals Inc. and listed on the Toronto TSX-V and London AIM exchanges). Nautilus is the world's first company to be granted exploration licences to newly discovered, high grade seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Mining of these gold, copper and zinc rich deposits is planned to commence in the last quarter of 2011 following the successful equity fundraisings totaling US$300M.
With one of his founding partners in Nautilus, Russell Debney, Julian founded Direct Nickel Pty Ltd (DNi) in 2006 after having identified the potential of precursor technologies for treating nickel laterites.
The DNi Process
The Direct Nickel (DNi) Process is a hydrometallurgical process for nickel laterite deposits. It is believed to be the only process capable of treating the full laterite profile, from limonitic to saprolitic ores in a single flowsheet. It is a tank leach process that operates at atmospheric pressure, or with the option of mild pressure, and treats the ore at relatively low temperatures. The leach process uses a special reagent package to liberate more than 95% of the nickel, cobalt and other metals into solution. The insoluble residue is neutralised and sent to a waste disposal facility. The solution is then sequentially processed to extract the individual metals. The metal solution processing produces:
- A marketable mixed hydroxide (or oxide, or sulphide) product containing nickel and cobalt.
- Co-products Fe2O3, Al2O3 and MgO.
- A barren solution that is sent to the recycle circuit which recovers +95% of the reagent for reuse.
The high recovery of the reagent package is a unique feature in the DNi Process. Consequently, reagent consumption in the DNi Process is as low as 30kg/t of feed material compared to sulphuric acid leaching processes, which consume 300 to 1000kg/t.
- List of Key Features of the Process are:
- Treats whole laterite profile (limonite and saprolite ores) with one flowsheet
- Extraction of Nickel exceeds 95% and Cobalt 85%
- Reagent recovery +95%
- Operates at atmospheric pressure and low temperature, significantly reducing operating costs compared to other existing technologies.
- Comparatively low technology risk, with a much lower operating intensity than HPAL and smelting plants.
- Uses commercially available equipment and standard materials of construction.
- Environmental benefits - reduced tailings, process emissions captured and recycled.
- Low capital threshold to entry- ability to freely scale up from 5 ktpa of Nickel to any size.
All steps in the process have been demonstrated at bench scale.
View the video cast here:
About Direct Nickel Pty Ltd
Direct Nickel Pty Ltd (DNi) is building a nickel inventory by acquiring interests in undervalued laterite resources and is substantially revaluing these resources by applying the DNi Process. A successful DNi Process will revalue nickel companies by 20-30 times (by market capitalisation).
About Regency Mines Plc
Regency Mines Plc (LON:RGM) is focused on exploring areas of copper and nickel potential in Western Australia, Queensland, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Company’s projects consist of one tenement in PNG prospective for nickel, two tenements in Queensland prospective for copper and gold, and five in the Lake Johnston region of the South Central Yilgarn prospective for nickel and gold. The Company’s projects include Mambare, Bundarra, Mt. Stone, Mt Gordon and Mt Tay.
Regency Mines Plc
Direct Nickel Pty Ltd