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How can Pyrometallurgical Nickel Smelting Make Breakthrough in the Context of Carbon Neutrality?
Jul 18, 2022 16:35CST
Source:SMM
At the 7th China International New Energy Conference in 2022--China International Nickel and Manganese Industry Chain Development Forum jointly held by Shanghai Metals Market (SMM) and Shanghai Futures Exchange, Gao Chengjun, founder and CEO of Rongzhi Nonferrous Metals, introduced the current nickel industry and the development trend of nickel industry and pyrometallurgical nickel smelting under the background of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

SHANGHAI, July 18 (SMM) - At the 7th China International New Energy Conference in 2022--China International Nickel and Manganese Industry Chain Development Forum jointly held by Shanghai Metals Market (SMM) and Shanghai Futures Exchange, Gao Chengjun, founder and CEO of Rongzhi Nonferrous Metals, introduced the current nickel industry and the development trend of nickel industry and pyrometallurgical nickel smelting under the background of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

Type of nickel resource

➢  The world has rich reserves of nickel resources, but it is much less than oxygen, silicon, aluminium, iron, and magnesium.

➢  The core has natural nickel-iron alloy and contains the highest nickel. The content of nickel ore in the earth's crust is 0.018%.

Global nickel resources distribution

➢  Sulphide nickel ores are mainly distributed in Canada, Russia, Australia, China, South Africa and other countries.

➢  Lateritic nickel ores are mainly distributed in Cuba, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brazil and other countries near the equator.

Producing high-grade nickel matte from laterite nickel ore-RKEF process

Vale Indonesia (PTVI) was established in 1968. In 1973, a pyrometallurgical production line was built in the Sorowako area of Sulawesi. The production started in 1978, and the product is high nickel matte. At present, there are 4 electric furnaces with capacity of 75,000 mt (Ni content), and it is planned to increase to 80,000mt/year (Ni content). In addition, PTVI plans to build another production line with 10,000 mt/year (Ni content) to increase the capacity to 90,000 mt (Ni content). According to the long-term contract, 80% of high nickel matte is sold to VCL (80%) and 20% is sold to Sumitomo Metal. In addition, the company also plans to build a NPI plant in Bahodopi and a HPAL production line in Pomalaa.

External environment change of nickel smelting

Western countries

• Several countries including the UK, US, Japan and South Korea have officially announced to stop financing overseas coal energy projects.

The world's largest nickel consumer-China

• “Carbon peaking and neutrality”

• September 21, 2021, President Xi Jinping attended the general debate of the 76th UN General Assembly, and delivered an important speech entitled To Enhance Confidence, Overcome the Difficulties and Build a Better World Together and said that China will firmly facilitate the development of green and low-carbon energy in developing countries and will no longer build new overseas coal-based power projects.

Country with most nickel resource-Indonesia

• No more approvals for new thermal power projects from 2023

• Proposed tax on nickel products with nickel content less than 70%

The largest producer-Tsingshan Group

• In March 2021, Tsingshan Group officially started the project to invest in the construction of a clean energy base. The project plans to build power stations and supporting facilities including solar and wind energy in Indonesia's Qingshan Park and Weidabe Park. Tsingshan Group decided to invest in the construction of a 2000MW clean energy base in Indonesia in the next 3 to 5 years to provide power guarantee for green development. The electricity it produces will be mainly used to produce raw materials for new energy electric vehicle batteries.

Oxygen-enriched side-blowing

✓Oxygen-enriched side-blowing is a kind of molten pool smelting pyrometallurgical technology ✓This technology can guarantee the stability and effectiveness of metallurgical process. The physical and chemical reactions can be completed quickly. Therefore, the production capacity can be improved.

✓ Due to its small investment, low cost and huge production capacity, the grade of raw materials is greatly reduced and the adaptability of raw material improved, hence it has strong application prospects.

✓ Can produce both NPI and nickel matte.

✓ Can handle both high-grade humus type laterite nickel ore and some limonites.

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